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^0044 


THE NEW ERA 

IN HOME AND SCHOOL 


GROUP TECHNIQUES APPLIED TO SPEECH 
PROBLEMS IN A UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT 

OF EDUCATION 

J. Elizabeth Richardson, Lecturer in Education, Sheffield University 


I T is curious that the training of the voice, 
whether we call the process elocution, speech 
training or voice production, has so often 
been regarded as a series of lessons concerning 
exclusively a teacher and an individual pupil, 
possibly with an examination in view. Yet 
speech is a social necessity; it arises only in 
social situations and must always involve at 
least a two-way relationship. 

For the speech therapist in a teachers’ training 
department, this social aspect of speech is par¬ 
ticularly important. He does not exist solely 
to correct regional accents, to teach students 
how to breathe, how to articulate and how to 
phrase and pitch their sentences. Certainly these 
are among his objectives, but his primary one 
should be to help his students to acquire con¬ 
fidence in their own power to communicate ideas 
verbally, so that they can stand before their 
classes as live personalities, establishing real 
contacts with their pupils. 

When a student faces a class for the first time, 
he may find that his voice lets him down. He is 
perhaps nervous. To children he may appear 
weak and hesitant, immature, eminently gullible. 
Or in an attempt to overcome his nervousness 
he may adopt a threatening attitude towards his 
pupils, who quickly react by becoming what he 
has taken them to be—his enemies. These 
attitudes find echoes in voices. Some teachers 
have special voices for the classroom; they 
regard children as a race apart—creatures to be 
hectored and bullied, patronized, coaxed or even 
fled from. And so, when we set out to train a 
student to use his voice effectively, it is far more 
than vowels and consonants that we listen for. 
We may have to examine his underlying attitudes 
and create conditions in which he can discuss 
these freely and openly, not only with us but 
also with other students. If we are to be success¬ 


ful in this, an understanding of the psychological 
forces at work in the group is at least as necessary 
to us as a technical knowledge of the physiological 
and linguistic bases of speech. 

In studying how to handle speech problems 
we should do w T ell to bear in mind what has been 
going on in other fields during the past thirty 
years . 1 Particularly relevant to this study are: 
the work of S. R. Slavson with maladjusted 
persons , 2 the investigations into the dynamics of 
group relations carried out by Kurt Lewin and his 
successors 3 and the sociometric and psycho- 
dramatic techniques invented and practised by 
J. L. Moreno . 4 For those training teachers, as 
for psychiatrists, the method of private instruc¬ 
tion or private interview has only a limited 
efficacy. It is time that the therapeutic and 
aesthetic value of the group approach was better 
understood. 

The speech therapist in a training department 
may find, like Slavson, Lewin and others, that 
the creation of satisfactory group conditions is 
one of his most important functions. As a leader 
he must be neither dogmatic nor weak. He must 
help his students to study their own voices in 
relation to the role they will have to play as 
teachers, but in criticizing he should tread warily, 
for the problem of speech is a very delicate one. 
No possession is more personal than one’s own 
voice and no criticism arouses more bitter resent¬ 
ment than criticism of speech habits; the 
therapist who begins by setting up arbitrary 
standards may succeed only in alienating his 
students and disbanding his groups before they 
have had time to develop any permanent rela¬ 
tionships. On the other hand, once a group has 
acquired social cohesion its members will combine 
friendly tolerance with honest criticism in a most 
refreshing way. All kinds of problems will in 
time find their way into such discussions—why a 


l 





2 


THE NEW EHA 


Yorkshireman and a Welshman, although they 
have certain vowel pronunciations in common, 
sound so different, what speech habits are 
peculiar to Bradford or Leeds or Sheffield and 
not common to all Yorkshire towrns, why a 
sentence sounds aggressive with one intonation 
and conciliatory with another, whether recording 
a reading is more, or less, embarrassing than 
recording an impromptu talk, what changes of 
pitch, speed and intonation are caused by such 
nervousness, how r emotional strain of one kind 
or another affects a teacher’s voice in the class¬ 
room. 

It is often difficult for a student to understand 
why his voice bores, irritates or actively antago¬ 
nizes a class. A discussion based on an actual 
lesson can be of far more value than a merely 
intellectual argument, as any demonstration 
lesson, if it is openly and honestly criticized 
afterwards, will show. It is not easy to arrange 
for even small groups of students to watch one 
another's lessons in schools. It is, however, 
comparatively simple to arrange for a group of 
students to teach each other in a university 
classroom, one student playing the role of the 
teacher while the rest act as his pupils. This 
role-playing device, based on Moreno’s psycho- 
dramatic and sociodramatic techniques, 4 has been 
adapted to many needs. From 1942 the War 
Office Selection Boards used it, in preference to 
the private interview, for testing groups of men 
for potential leadership abilities 5 and certain 
industrial companies now use it in courses for 
the training of foremen. 6 It may prove a valuable 
aid in the training of teachers, for is it not one of 
the perennial complaints voiced by students that 
the theory of education is too widely divorced 
from its practice? 

Students come to our training colleges and 
departments straight from the sixth forms of 
grammar schools or from university departments, 
where the emphasis is academic rather than 
practical. The scholar must turn teacher, and 
the transition is seldom easy. The student feels 
that his lesson is going to be interesting; but the 
children do not listen to it. He is sent to the 
speech therapist, who may well find himself 
working in a vacuum if he treats the speech 
difficulty in isolation and not in relation to the 
teacher’s function in the classroom. The student's 
problem may derive from his feelings about him¬ 
self and his class. No amount of drill in vowels 


January 1953 

and consonants, no amount of practice in deep 
breathing, no amount of reading from texts is 
going to help such a student. What he needs is 
a chance to try himself out as a teacher with 
pupils who are sympathetic both to his needs 
and to their own. A group of students, acting 
as such a class, will very quickly take on the roles 
of children, and in the psychodrama of the mock 
lesson will react to the teacher's voice, personality 
and method of instructing, very much as children 
might, especially if they are carefully briefed 
beforehand. In using this technique it is im¬ 
portant that no-one steps out of his role. If 
the student who is playing the role of the teacher 
suddenly turns to the therapist with the explana¬ 
tion: ‘At this point I should ask the class ques¬ 
tions about the facts I had just given them', he 
throws away all the advantages of the dramatic 
method. He must ask his questions as he really 
would in the classroom, and, what is more im¬ 
portant, he must handle the replies the ‘children’ 
give him just as if they really were children and 
not his fellow students. Though the situations 
thus created are modified by many factors other 
than the student's voice, it is nevertheless 
demonstrably true that friction is often caused 
by an aggressive manner of speech as much as 
by any other defect. 

The following lesson, in which about ten 
science students participated, illustrated this kind 
of dynamic classroom situation. The student 
who played the role of the teacher was a mathe¬ 
matician whose lessons savoured rather of the 
drill yard and whose motto was ‘Discipline at all 
costs'. He spoke in a hard, metallic fashion and, 
though at heart a kindly man who liked children, 
he always conveyed the impression of being 
determined to give no quarter. Jokes seldom 
enlivened his lessons, and when they did they 
tended towards sarcasm at someone's expense. 
He began the lesson by announcing that he was 
going to do some quick revision of the circle 
before going on to anything new. Having drawn 
a circle on the blackboard, he drew a triangle 
inside it, producing one side so that the extension 
from the triangle lay outside the circle. The 
following series of questions and answers was 
then recorded. (The ‘teacher’ is designated as 
Mr. X and the names of the ‘pupils' are fictitious.) 

Mr. X: Can anyone tell me anything about these two 
angles here? Can you, Smith? 

Smith: They’re equal. 

Mr. X (startled): Are they equal? 


January 1953 group techniques applied to speech problems 3 


Smith: Well, they look it Sir. 

Mr. X: So they look it ! What do you think, Hobson? 
Do you think they’re equal? 

Hobson: They might be. 

Mr. X: They might be—yes. Lawson, anything to 
suggest at all? Do you think they might be equal? 

Lawson: They might be. 

Mr. X: Did anyone suggest to anyone that they would 
be equal? Matthew's? Back to the old question 
again ! 

Matthews: No, Sir. 

Mr. X: They didn’t? 

Matthews: No, Sir. 

Mr. X: Well, shall we just draw another diagram? 

Several: Yes, Sir. 

(While Mr. X is drawing this second diagram on the 
board a wiiisper, unheard by him, is distinctly recorded 
on the tape: ‘Bit out of sorts this morning !’) 

Mr. X: Now then, do those two angles look equal? 

Burton (soothingly): No, Sir, they don’t look equal, 
Sir. 

Mr. X: You’re all satisfied that they don’t look equal? 

Law'son: You’ve marked them equal, Sir! 

Mr. X (on the defensive): I’ve marked them equal, 
have I? 

Lawson (indignantly): Yes, Sir ! 

Mr. X: I’m only talking about those two angles, you 
know. If you don’t like that we’ll have a look at 
that, shall w r e? (drawing another figure). Eh? Those 
tw r o angles are—w'hat, Thompson? What can you 
tell me about those? 

Thompson: They’re less than 180 degrees. 

Mr. X: Each one? 

Thompson: Yes. 

Mr. X: Also—Burton? 

Burton: The sum is less than 180 degrees. 

Mr. X: Yes, and there’s something else I’m trying to 
get. 

Burton: They’re acute. 

Mr. X (irritably): No ! No ! What's this, Brown? 

Browm: I think it’s obtuse. 

Mr. X: Yes, this is obtuse. One’s acute and one’s 
obtuse. Therefore—what, Burton? Quicker this 
time ! You’re all going to sleep ! 

(Several members of the class snigger.) 

Mr. X: Anything to say? Are they equal? 

(Uproar) 

Mr. X: All right, they’re not equal, are they? 

The lesson continued in this fashion for a while 
and the recording was then played back and 
discussed. ‘Mr. X’, who was at a loss to know 
why his lesson had been so badly received and 
why his class had been so slow to answer, was 
astonished to discover how aggressive he sounded 
and protested that he had not felt quarrelsome. 
Yet he had in the space of a few minutes aroused 
hostility in pupils who had approached his lesson 
with sympathy and a good deal of tact—witness 
Burton’s reassuring ‘No, Sir, they don’t look 
equal, Sir !’ Somehow his honest endeavour to 
ensure that every member of the class was 
following his arguments closely had ended in 
mutual irritation and unveiled hostility. Such 
miscarriage of good intentions is not uncommon 


in the classroom. Practice situations of the kind 
described above may help both the over-aggressive 
teacher who antagonizes his classes and the over- 
diffident teacher who fails to make any positive 
impression at all. 

The student who lacks confidence, if he appeals 
to the speech therapist for help and advice, is 
likely to do so in private rather than as a member 
of a group. Being as diffident with his fellow 
students as he is with his pupils he shuns the 
self-revelation of the speech therapy group. Yet 
if he can be persuaded to study with others he 
can be helped more effectively and may indeed 
find that his fellow students share many of his 
own fears and disabilities. One such student, a 
science graduate, who had been told that he 
sounded nervous and that he failed to establish 
any real personal contact with his classes, came 
to me for private coaching and asked if he might 
hear his voice recorded. I asked him to imagine 
that he was explaining to a class of eleven-year-old 
boys the precautions that must be taken when a 
large number of people are working together in a 
chemistry laboratory. His first attempt was a 
monologue, stilted, remote and impersonal. When 
he heard it played back he admitted that he 
himself, if he had been one of the boys in the 
class, would have taken in very little of what he 
was being told, and that his attention would 
have been caught by the apparatus, the cupboards 
and the general paraphernalia of his new sur¬ 
roundings far more than by the teacher’s dull 
monotone. The second recording took the form 
of a dialogue, in which I played the roles of two 
or three boys in the class and supplied a constant 
stream of interruptions. This was far more 
successful, for as the student tried to relate his 
instructions to the, various objects round the 
imaginary laboratory and to the spontaneous 
questions and comments that came up in the 
minds of the imaginary boys, so his manner 
warmed up and his speech acquired more vitality. 
The classroom situation could, of course, have 
been more closely approached if, besides myself, 
a group of students had been present to act as 
the class. As it was, I probably achieved more 
by acting with the student than I should have 
done by remaining outside the situation and 
merely offering comment and criticism after¬ 
wards. 

On another occasion a geography specialist, who 
had been warned that the tempo of his lessons 


A2 



4 


THE NEW ERA 


was too slow, presented himself for private tuition 
and made a recording of an impromptu talk on 
cloud formations a topic he had recently used 
in a lesson during his teaching practice. W hen 
this recording was played back to him, he himself 
commented on the notes of uncertainty and 
hesitation in his voice, but excused himself on 
the grounds that if he had actually been teaching 
a class the lesson might have been better, as he 
would have interrupted the monologue to ask 
questions, so that the pupils would have been 
co-operating with him rather than merely listen¬ 
ing. What this student was unconsciously 
criticizing was that very isolation which he himself 
had sought when he had asked if he might record 
his voice in private. If other students had been 
present for this recording they could not only 
have created for him a classroom situation more 
closely resembling the real one, but in so doing 
they might have helped him to relax so that his 
rather stilted lecturing could have turned into 
something more like real teaching. 

It may be argued that this psychodramatic 
technique cannot, in this particular field of voice 
training, take us beyond the stage of diagnosis. 
It is easy to discover the student’s faults by 
setting him to teach the rest of the group, but 
not perhaps so easy to provide the necessary 
therapy by this method. To some extent this 
may be true. Though some students are able 
to correct faults during the actual recording of 
the mock lesson and can note afterwards, when 
they listen to the recording, the effects of their 
own changes of attitude (and hence of vocal 
tone), for many this quick adjustment is not 
easy. A man who habitually uses a timid, 
hesitant voice, both in the classroom and outside 
it, may not be aware of his own vocal potentiali¬ 
ties, though painfully aware of his limitations. 
It is possible, with the help of other students, to 
use ready-made dramatic material in such a wav 
that he can be trained to play a role which he 
believes to be foreign to his nature. In this kind 
of work we are really using Moreno’s role-playing 
technique, though unlike him we are making use 
of literary material rather than relying on im¬ 
promptu dialogue. There is an advantage in 
this. Even the least imaginative student warms 
to a worthwhile script, and may undertake to 
read a part in a play whereas he might shrink 
from the ordeal of improvising his own dialogue. 
Moreover, the printed words provide us with a 


January 1953 

common object of study, and attention is thus 
focussed less on the student’s shortcomings than 
on the claims of the ideas and feelings lie is 
trying to interpret. The voice is studied in 
relation to significant words; the examination 
of the literary text proceeds side by side with 
the vocal re-creation of the text. Dramatic 
material can be found which is not only intrinsic¬ 
ally interesting and worth serious study, but 
which also involves interpersonal problems similar 
to those found in schools. 

An admirable example of this kind of scene 
occurs in John Drinkwater’s chronicle play 
Abraham Lincoln, in the dramatic clash between 
the President and certain of his ministers, in 
particular Hook, the fictitious character in the 
play who is intended to typify the malicious, 
self-seeking elements in Lincoln’s Cabinet. The 
scene involves a disciplinary problem, on a very 
much higher level than any found in a classroom, 
but still comparable. Lincoln remains throughout 
this scene calm, though not unmoved, desiring, 
though not dependent on, the support of his 
Ministers, true to his high principles and im¬ 
movable in his resolution. The point at issue 
is the proclamation which is to announce the 
abolition of slavery, believed sincerely by some 
to be premature and used by Hook as a means 
of stirring up dissension in the Cabinet. At the 
close of the meeting Lincoln detains Hook; a 
dialogue follows in the course of which Hook is 
forced to reveal his hand and, after a series of 
ineffective attacks on the President’s policy, he 
blurts out his resignation, which Lincoln ulti¬ 
mately accepts. I have worked through this 
scene with a number of students, always with 
similar results. A student playing the role first 
of Hook and then of Lincoln learns that authority 
founded on firm principles never blusters, whereas 
insecurity disturbs the speech mechanism just 
as it shakes the mental equilibrium. Lincoln’s 
voice is quiet, steady, assured, with an occasional 
ring of anger that is effective just because it is 
rarely heard ; Hook’s voice is strident, aggressive, 
uncontrolled, reflecting a callous, self-seeking, 
unprincipled nature. Such an exercise is not 
only effective as voice training but is at the same 
time aesthetically satisfying and socially educa¬ 
tive. This kind of dramatic work should be 
planned in such a way that each student has, 
from time to time, an opportunity to play a role 
which will strengthen the weak points in his 


January 1953 group techniques applied 

armour. If he is diffident he should be asked to 
play an aggressive role; if he is over-emphatic or 
unsympathetic he should be given a gentle part; 
if his manner in the classroon is heavy and 
taciturn he may be cast as a humorist and per¬ 
suaded to talk in a lighter vein. 

The success of this kind of work is almost 
entirely dependent on what Lewin calls the 
‘social climate’ of the group, and this climate is 
determined largely by two factors—the principle 
on which the study groups are constructed in 
the first place, and the kind of leadership exercised 
by the therapist when the groups set to work. 
Moreno, the inventor of psychodrama, has, over 
a period of about thirty years, demonstrated how 
important it is that those in authority over 
children and young people should take into 
consideration the natural friendships and hostili¬ 
ties existing between them when they allocate 
them to groups which are to have any degree of 
permanence. 7 Interpersonal relationships play an 
equally important part in adult life. Since much 
of the speech work in training departments is 
voluntary, it seems reasonable to suggest that 
the students attending such classes should have 
some voice in deciding which groups they are to 
join. The more congenial the group, the more 
quickly will mutual tolerance and trust grow, 
and it is only in these conditions of relaxation 
that really effective speech therapy can be 
carried out. The wall between speech training 
and such recreational activities as debating, 
acting, play-reading and choral verse-speaking is 
very thin. Each of these can play a valuable part 
in the work of therapy, yet none is possible except 
in a group setting. 

The speech therapist, faced with the problem 
of tackling eighty or so individual students, and 
obliged against his will to combine them into 
classes, may find, as Dr. Pratt of Boston did in 
the medical field, that the policy of despair 
proves to be the policy of hope, and that he can 
achieve more with his groups than he could with 
private pupils. Gradually, as the year goes on, 
these classes can become cohesive social units, 
in which both the problems common to the group 
and those specific to individual members can be 
more and more freely discussed. Students in a 
group of this kind are usually perturbed by any 
suggestion that they should disband and join 
other classes. They have learned to know each 
other; they understand one another’s weaknesses; 


TO SPEECH PROBLEMS 5 

they have established certain ties of relationship 
which they would not wish to see broken. It is 
this social cohesion, as much as anything the 
therapist can do, which makes it possible for a 
student to understand better both his class¬ 
room problems and more particularly, his very 
personal problems of voice quality and speech 
habits, 'this advance in understanding, though 
imperceptible to the therapist himself, may 
occasionally be noted by a supervisor who has 
observed the student’s teaching performances 
both at the very beginning and at the very end of 
his training period. 


1 See summary in Cottrell, L. S., and Gallagher, R., 
‘Developments in Social Psychiatry', Sociometry 
Monograph, No. 1, New York: Beacon House, 1941. 

2 Slavson, S. R., An Introduction to Group Therapy. 
New York: The Commonwealth Fund. 1943. 

The Practice of Group Therapy. London: The 
Pushkin Press. 1947. 

Analytic Group Practice. New York: Columbia 
University Press. 1950. 

3 Lewin, K., Lippitt, R., and White, R. K., ‘Patterns 
of Aggressive Behavior in Experimentally created 
“Social Climates'',' journal of Social Psychology , 
X. 1939. 

See also Lippitt, K., and White, R. K., ‘An Ex¬ 
perimental Study of Leadership and Group Life' in 
Newcomb, T. M., and Hartley, E. L. (eds.), 
Readings in Social Psychology. New York: Henry 
Holt and Co., 1947; and ‘The “Social Climate'' of 
Children's Groups' in Barker, R., Kounin, J., and 
Wright, H. (eds.), Child Development and Behavior. 
New York: McGraw Hill Book Co. 1943. 

4 Moreno, J. L., Psychodrama: First Volume. New 
York: Beacon Hill. 1946. 

‘The Philosophy of the Moment and the Spontaneity 
Theater’, Sociometry IV, No. 2. 1941. 

5 Harris, H., The Group Approach to Leadership 
Testing. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 
1949. 

6 Bridger, H., and Isdell-Carpenter, R., 'Selection of 
Management Trainees’ in Industrial Welfare and 
Personnel Management, November-December 1947. 
Bavelas, A., ‘Role-playing and Management Train¬ 
ing’. Sociatry, 1947 (i). 

Maier, N. R. F., and Zerfoss, L. F., M.R.P., ‘A 
Technique for Training Large Groups of Supervisors 
and its Potential Use in Social Research’. Huma?i 
Relations, Vol. V, No. 2. 

7 Moreno, J. L., Who shall Survive? New York: 
Beacon House. 1950. (Revised edition.) 

See also (for an account of the use of these tech¬ 
niques in an English school) Richardson, J. E., 
‘Classification by Friendship: Sociometric Tech¬ 
niques Applied to the Teaching of English’ in 
Fleming, C. M. (ed.), Studies in the Social Psychology 
of Adolescence. London: Routledge and Kegan 
Paul. 1951. 









AUTHORITY IN EDUCATION 

A. K. C. Ottaway , Lecturer in Education , University of Leeds 


I N his recent book, Freedom and Authority in 
Education, 1 Mr. G. H. Bantock has put forward 
• some fundamental criticisms of the theory 
and practice of the ‘progressive’ movement in 
education. By ‘progressive’ education he does 
not refer only to the few schools initiated and 
supported by the well-off, middle-class intellec¬ 
tuals of the 1020’s (their mistakes have often been 
condemned) but extends his objections to most 
of the current interpretations of ‘self-expression’ 
and ‘group activity' wherever they are to be 
found, and indeed to the whole concept of 
democratic social relations in school life. He 
explores the grounds for a ‘reassertion of the 
notion of authority’ which he maintains modern 
educationists have rejected, and asks the im¬ 
portant question ‘What, then, is the significance, 
purpose and function of authority in education?’ 

No serious minded educators question the need 
for more rigorous thinking about education, for 
a more careful definition of terms and a re¬ 
examination of the current cliches and slogans 
of the superficial theorist. There is undoubtedly 
too great a tendency to forget the ends of educa¬ 
tion and to concentrate on the means. For 
example the free development of personality is 
not sufficient as an end in itself, and egocentricity 
is one of the progressive person’s chief failings. 
It is even a weakness in the training of teachers 
in England that the colleges and universities often 
fail to secure an adequate discussion of the first 
principles in education. Therefore Mr. Bantock 
is right to remind us that we should be guided 
by ends which are beyond our immediate indivi¬ 
dual and social purposes, and that we should 
seek a conception of authority through which man 
can best achieve his true freedom. 

There are, nevertheless, many educators who 
would disagree with Mr. Bantock over the way 
he would apply his notion of authority in the day- 
to-day work of the school, and who would defend 
the modern methods which he condemns. 

First with regard to the use of authority in the 
learning process. According to Mr. Bantock 'the 
authority of the subject' means that the learner 
must be prepared to accept his ignorance, and 
submit to the superior knowledge of the teacher, 
who is a representative of a discipline and tradi- 

1 l-’abcr & l’ab<*r, 18/-; reviewed in The Sew Fra, November, 1952. 


tion of learning beyond himself. Indeed the 
teacher’s highest aim should be to impart know¬ 
ledge as an end in itself, and as a result he must 
constantly decide for the child, who does not know 
what he wants. Nor can the child (says Mr. 
Bantock) usually understand the nature of what 
he is learning or the reasons for it. The ‘teacher’s 
encouragement can, in many spheres, be nothing 
but dogmatic and authoritarian.’ Any attempt 
to base his teaching on the interest or experience 
of the pupil is to introduce 'extraneous considera¬ 
tions’, even when these serve a useful purpose. 
When, in another context, Mr. Bantock speaks 
of 'the serious decline of spanking among middle- 
class parents,’ and refers to self-expression as ‘a 
dishonest farce’ one begins to understand why he 
does not think the teacher-child relationship can 
be a personal or friendly one. 

Those who defend the methods involving mon- 
individual freedom and activity in the classroom 
would maintain that their purpose is not to give 
value to mere spontaneity, impulse and passing 
emotion, but to develop the habits of independent 
thinking, initiative and co-operative work. The 
child has to learn to use freedom and has to learn 
to exercise choice, and he can only learn these 
things by having the opportunity to think for 
himself and choose for himself without perpetual 
interference from the teacher. To say that the 
child is faced with the continual necessity of 
choice is to make a caricature of progressive 
education. Freedom, like discipline, can only 
be learnt gradually and must come in stages. 
Freedom cannot be held back until discipline is 
fully established, since discipline also is learnt 
step by step in the course of experience. It is 
true and self-evident that the child must accept 
some authority in order to start learning, and such 
prior acceptance on the child’s part can always be 
assumed unless he has learnt to distrust adults 
altogether. Once learning begins, the willingness 
to continue depends on the success of the prior 
experience and the kind of expectation which 
proceeding to the next step arouses in the pupil. 
It is useless, in the practice of teaching, to hold 
the abstract ideal of the authority of the subject 
representing something beyond individual and 
social purposes, without first considering the 
everyday motives of the learner. 



AUTHORITY IN EDUCATION 


7 


January 1953 

The good modern teacher is able to work with 
his class rather than against it. He is in a position 
of authority, as he must inevitably be, but he 
does not use his power over his pupils to dominate 
them. He consults the pupils about their work 
and considers their wishes, rather than making 
all the decisions for them. He invites participa¬ 
tion and encourages initiative, rather than giving 
orders on what must be done. Like a good 
leader he praises rather than blames, and can 
foster a happy, creative atmosphere instead of 
causing conflict and inciting opposition. Such a 
teacher anticipates interest and expects friendly 
co-operation; accepting the child, whenever 
possible, as a partner in the enterprise of learning. 
It is not the intention of these methods that less 
work should be done but more, since children can 
carry out just as hard work on their own initiative 
as under direct compulsion from the adult. 

Problems in the use of authority are also in¬ 
volved in the social life of a school community. 
The school is not merely a place of learning but 
is a society of a certain kind. That the school 
is not the same kind of society as the adult world 
outside will be readily agreed, but part of its 
function is to prepare children for membership 
of that society. Now Mr. Bantock thinks that 
learning is the most important objective of the 
school, and questions whether such political 
notions as democracy are relevant to the sort of 
society a school is. This leads him to imagine 
that children might suffer from ‘egotistical self- 
inflation’ if they were asked to exercise the 
responsibility involved in serving on a school 
council. But he is so very suspicious of all social 
aims in education that one almost comes to think 
he regrets the need to live in society at all ! 

Democracy is not just a method of governing 
an adult society, but it is a way of life which is 
characterized by the kind and quality of the 
personal relations between any human beings. 
The democratic use of authority involves the 
sharing of power and influence by the methods of 
delegation and consultation. There seems no 
reason why these methods should not be applied, 
in a suitable form, in a school which is preparing 
children to have the right attitude towards 
authority. Social responsibility is one of the 
chief qualities needed in a democrat, and this 
has to be learnt slowly like the use of freedom. 
Social responsibility at the child’s level means 
having a role to play in his community. 


The actual machinery of self-government is 
relatively unimportant compared with the kind 
of way teachers and children behave towards 
each other, which is the real test of democratic 
relations. The child is not always right, but the 
child's opinion matters and he should be con¬ 
sulted about things which concern him. Discus¬ 
sion of the rules makes them more likely to be 
obeyed, and good discipline means accepting the 
law rather than living in fear of punishment. 

Mr. Bantock makes it clear in his book what 
he is against, but it is not so easy to discover 
what he is for, particularly over the application 
of his views to practical teaching. He believes 
in the authority of the teacher, and in the suprem¬ 
acy of intellectual education and the training of 
the mind. He appears to believe in a conception 
of culture which is necessarily for the few, and 
regards the objective of equal opportunity in 
education with some suspicion. These views can 
be related to his opposition to planning, to group 
activity, to personal relations between teacher 
and taught, and to political egalitarian ideas. 
It would be fatally easy, holding these views, to 
behave like an autocrat in the classroom. 


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John Glaister 

Great Ideas 

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Prof. W. E. Collinson and others 

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EDUCATION AND CONFORMITY 

Adam Curie, Professor oj Education and Psychology, University College of the South-Hesf, Exeter 


P rimitive peoples have few educational prob¬ 
lems. All that they require of their children 
is that they shall conform to the pattern of 
behaviour and belief which maintains the un¬ 
changing character of the community, and the 
whole weight of tribal authority is directed to¬ 
wards producing attitudes which will uphold and 
perpetuate that authority. The indoctrination 
is usually successful, because the individual has 
no other model to turn to or to learn from. In 
the few cases where it is unsuccessful it makes 
little difference, for the person concerned is 
ostracized or put to death before his disruptive 
influence can be felt. Since the main end of 
primitive education (if one can so call such an 
unformalized process) is to maintain the social 
status quo, the qualities which are inculcated are 
inseparable from their actual social use. Courage, 
for example, will not be thought of as a general 
property, but as a specific attribute of the 
warrior. 

With us the issue is very different. While our 
traditional outlook in education allows that there 
must always be some process of teaching essential 
social skills, it emphasizes that the possession and 
the employment of these skills are two separate 
things. (We consider, for instance, that bravery 
in battle is only one aspect of a man’s courage.) 
Our education in fact has the task of equipping 
us and then preparing us to use our equipment 
wisely, and independently of any rigid pattern 
of action; or as Hocking put it, to attain and 
then to transcend the cultural type. 

There are reasons why a development which is 
not a mere perfection of normality, but which 
escapes the limitations implied by normality, is 
socially necessary as well as theoretically and 
ideally desirable. Firstly, our society has no 
longer the internal consistency of a primitive 
community. It makes conflicting demands on 
us, calling now for independence, now for sub¬ 
missiveness, now for co-operation, now for compe¬ 
tition, which cannot be fitted into a single ideology 
except by a severe curtailment of our activity and 
a marked failure to use the opportunities of our 
civilization. A second equally cogent reason is 
that we live in a rapidly changing society in 
which any attempt to fix the pattern of behaviour 
would be disastrous to the values most important 


to us. (It may be remarked that it was pre¬ 
cisely a fixing of the pattern which was attempted 
in the late 1000-year Reich.) 

It may be useful to enquire more deeply into 
what are known as ‘norms' of behaviour. To 
quote from Sherif, ‘norms arise from actual life 
situations as a consequence of the contact of 
people with one another. Yet, once formed, 
such norms regulate their relationships and daily 
life. It follows that the established norms will 
be stable to the extent that they eliminate intense 
friction in the contact of individuals or social 
classes, and to the degree that they do not stand 
as rigid barriers in the way of satisfaction of basic 
needs ... In the initial state, norms may express 
the exact relationships demanded by the situation 
and may serve to regulate the lives of the indivi¬ 
dual members of the group, along co-operative 
lines with little friction. But once formed, they 
tend to persist. Many times they have outlived 
their usefulness.’ 

An illustration from the writer’s own research 
will show how people who have become, as it 
were, fixed at what is the norm for their par¬ 
ticular community may feel constantly frustrated. 
A married woman with four children was frequent¬ 
ly upbraided by her husband because they were 
never able to go out together in the evening. 
Almost every day he would grumble because they 
could not go to the cinema or the public house. 
Eventually she explained that by the time she 
had given the children their supper, bathed them 
and put them to bed, had then given her husband 
his supper, eaten her own, washed up, and cut 
his sandwiches for the next day, it was too late 
to go anywhere. But, she added, if he would 
help her with the washing-up and various other 
small jobs, they might get finished in reasonable 
time. However, this sensible suggestion con¬ 
flicted violently with what he considered to be 
his household role, and he was so enraged with 
his wife’s ‘impertinent’ idea, that he threw a 
plate at her. 

This is only one of a large number of examples 
of the way in which sticking to a strict pattern 
of behaviour prevents people from using the very 
facilities and possibilities which are most attrac¬ 
tive to them. 

How does it come about that people behave 


8 


January 1953 education and conformity 9 

in this self-depriving fashion? It appears that 
although certain habits of conformity may greatly 
limit our sphere of action, these very limits 
provide us with stability and predictability in 
our lives. They imply a possibly unconscious 
check on flexibility and adaptability, one might 
almost say on freedom, in the interest of emotional 
security. Our world is becoming rapidly more 
difficult to understand, not only on account of 
its material complexity, but because we have lost 
many of the moral and traditional rules of thumb 
by which our fathers assessed the values of life, 
and many people retract from the confusion and 
uncertainty into a rigidly irrational cast of 
thought. 

If we are to meet this reactionary threat, 
education—using the term in the widest sense— 
must not only engage in the contest with out¬ 
moded and inappropriate norms of behaviour, 
but with the anxiety which impels people to 
cling to them. Its task must be to provide young 
people with the emotional as well as the intel¬ 
lectual equipment needed to transcend the 
type. Only thus can they be helped to catch 
up with, so to speak, and even to overtake 
and direct, the momentum of social change pro¬ 
ceeding from technological and economic de¬ 
velopment. 

Clearly this is a considerable task. There will 
always be pressure for education to ‘fit young 
people for the world’ in the narrower sense of 
training their skills and their outlook for some 
particular type of work or social position. The 
paradox is that the most realistic training is not 
training for anything in particular, but the 
nourishment of imagination, creative energy and 
adaptability. This type of education will always 
be unpopular with those who think of society 
in static terms, or who believe that its improve¬ 
ment lies in the perfection of what already exists. 

But a more particular danger lies in the fact that 
such education will easily arouse anxiety with the 
attendant peril of reaction, particularly among 
the emotionally immature or deprived. Conse¬ 
quently while destroying an emotional security 
based on conformity and stability, education— 
particularly the educational community of the 
school—must foster the other type of security 
which is based upon reciprocal responsibility 
and affection. 

The school as a system of human relations is 
clearly in a position to exercise an enormous 


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THE NEW era January 1953 

create, and not the result of passive acceptance 


10 

intlucncc on how children use and value the 
actual learning it imparts. The wrong balance 
of authority can do much to sabotage inde¬ 
pendence. But an authority which is both 
protective and permissive may create an atmo¬ 
sphere in which the child is emboldened to break 
with crippling conformity. If in addition the 
permissiveness extends to an encouragement of 
service and responsibility, the final product may 
be the constructive servant of society, rather than 
its slave. His stability will be the outcome of the 
warm human relationships which he is free to 


of an inhibiting tradition. 

But the questions of conformity, of teaching 
the techniques of social living rather than an 
ideology, of inculcating social conscience without 
making a fetish of social reform, raise a number 
of specialized problems in the almost uncharted 
field of the social psychology of education. If 
democracy depends for its survival on a popula¬ 
tion which is aware of its social and moral 
problems and is actively prepared to meet them, 
these studies must not be long delayed. 


THE NEW EDUCATION MOVEMENT IN 

BERLIN 

Albert Gossc 

[The revival of the New Education Fellowship in Germany has depended upon the work and 
experiments of those who were active between 1921 and 1933, and who never lost faith in their beliefs 
and principles. Herr Gosse has therefore, at our request, prefaced his article with a short account of 
his early career.] 


m s a young man I would have liked to be a 
ZX teacher, but my mother had to support 
1 X herself and her family by badly-paid work 
performed at home. So I became a ladies’ 
hairdresser and very soon was able to support 
her from my wages. In 1913 I started my own 
business. With August 1914 a whole world fell 
in ruins around me. I had firmly believed in 
the power of international Labour; now that 
belief had been destroyed and I was forced to 
become a soldier. After 1918 I returned to my 
business, and in 1920 my son was born. This 
led me to take an interest in education. 

An article brought me into touch with the 
Montessori movement, and I became a member 
of the German Montessori Society and then its 
Treasurer. Later on I began to take a regular 
part in the discussions at Parents’ Meetings, and 
came to know the Community Schools that had 
been started along the lines advocated by the 
Berlin School Inspector, Paulsen, to one of which 
I sent my boy when he reached school age. Here 
and in the Montessori Kindergarten I learnt the 
value of co-operation between parents and school, 
and later I joined the progressive education 
society Dcr Bund der enischiedenen Schulreformer, 
in order to make propaganda for that idea. But 
Hitler put an end to all reforms in 1933, and we 
were compelled to watch as passive spectators 
while education was reduced to the status of a 
hand-maid of militarism. 


In 1945 the way was at last free once more for 
reform. Soon old friends of the New Education 
came together. I sought contact with the 
Montessori Centre in London, and helped to get 
a Montessori Training Course started in Berlin. 
Then I heard of the Pestalozzi Children’s Village 
at Trogen in Switzerland, which I was able to 
visit, and we managed to get the Berlin officials 
to agree to the foundation in a Berlin suburb 
of a similar village for our own homeless orphans, 
though the division of Berlin into East and West 
put an end to this effort. 

Meanwhile, I was constantly in touch with 
parents and teachers over the problems of the 
New Education. I have often wondered why 
this became so important an element in my life. 
Perhaps it was because there is so much of the 
teacher in me. With the Hitler years and the 
war, the younger generation had lost its illusions 
and its ideals as well, and I felt that we owed 
them a debt in this time of crisis. For hundreds 
of years the German people had been educated 
for slavery: now they must learn democratic 
ways and we must help. We must show them 
how to educate and discipline themselves, how 
to acquire the art of brotherly kindness so that 
they may form a true community and become 
partners in the family of nations. It was but 
natural then that, when a friend of ours told us 
of the New Education Fellowship in London, we 
should get into touch with it and, after attending 


THE NEW EDUCATION MOVEMENT IN BERLIN 


January 1953 

the conference at Jugenheim in 1950, should join 
its newly revived German Section. 

I N every quarter of the globe, the war took its toll 
in human lives and reduced to ruins towns 
and villages. Want and misery followed in its 
train. The schools were not exempt. In Berlin, 
after months of apathy and resignation, those 
who had 'come through’ started to bring the 
educational system to life again. Out of what 
remained, machines and equipment were recon¬ 
structed, and dwelling places were made momen¬ 
tarily inhabitable. The rebuilding of the schools 
was also taken in hand, parents and teachers 
working side by side. 

In a suburb of West Berlin a group of men and 
women met together during the winter of 1945-6 
to discuss the question of the part played by the 
old authoritarian type of education in paving the 
way for dictatorship and war. For wars and 
dictatorships are not due solely to struggles for 
power, but presuppose, and have as their essential 
cause, men’s minds and attitudes. These attitudes 
are formed in homes, at school, and in the streets. 
For centuries the German people have been 
trained to enjoy being ruled, and they have there¬ 
fore willingly handed over all responsibility for 
the conduct of public affairs to the official and the 
sergeant-major ! But if Germany is to qualify for 
equal rights among the democratic nations of 
Europe, democracy must become its normal form 
of life. This goal can only be achieved if education 
in home and school can be re-oriented to accord 
with the results of modern research in education 
and psychology. Success will come when all 
adults change their attitude to children and to 
education under the influence of these new con¬ 
ceptions. But to effect this we must talk simply 
as parents to parents and use easily understood 
phraseology, acting as interpreters of the scientist 
to ordinary people. 

These ideas led us, on the 23rd October, 1946, 
to form a group of parents and teachers to work 
for the New Education: it appealed to all adults 
and adolescents to help change the old authori¬ 
tarian school and make of it an active and 
democratic community. The next two years 
were devoted to enlisting supporters. These 
were the years of the coal shortage and of electri¬ 
city cuts. Often we sat in unheated rooms, lit 
by candlelight, and talked with parents and 
adolescents about schools and education, asking 


11 

for criticisms and suggestions for educational 
reform. Many were the difficulties, but they 
could never shake our conviction that Germany’s 
real recovery depended upon making her educa¬ 
tion democratic and humane. 

The year 1948 brought with it a new Education 
Act, establishing a unified school system. The 
law was passed by a two-thirds majority in 
the Berlin Parliament and was then ratified by 
the Occupying Powers. In Section 18, the law 
declared: ‘In all schools Parents' Committees 
shall be established, elected from the Parents’ 
Groups of each class. Their object is to allow 
parents and guardians to play a responsible part 
in school life, thereby ensuring that close contact 
is maintained between the education given in 
the home and that provided at school.’ This 
clause gave parents both the right and the duty 
of co-operating for the benefit of their children 
in the organization of school life. I8ut the first 
election of parents’ representatives aroused little 
interest, even among parents and teachers. 

In larger meetings, therefore, our group made 
it a point to make all adults acquainted 
with the new law, and such themes as ‘The New 
Education Act’, ‘Authority and Freedom in 
Education in Home and School’, ‘What is your 
Child’s Attitude to School and Teacher?' were 
often the occasion of very lively debates. At one 
such meeting, a father stood up and said: ‘For 
every other profession we require several years 
of training; but parents, important as they are 
as their children’s educators, get none.’ This 
complaint made us realize how deep was the 
need and how helpless parents feel in face of the 
many difficulties that arise in the home. This 
signal of distress led us to set up Parents’ Centres 
where they could come for consultation and help, 
and to institute a library service to give them 
the aid of books. We also brought in specialists 
in psychology and education to give lectures, 
and sought help from films. 

It may be as well here to give the reader some 
account of the nature of these meetings. In 
1951 some thirty or so were held in different parts 
of Berlin. Those addressed by speakers from 
abroad, like Elisabeth Rotten, Miss Elms of the 
London University Institute of Education, Dr. 
Jensen of Norway, Dr. Bogelund of Denmark, 
and Professor Louis Fouilleron of France, were 
particularly well attended, drawing audiences of 
200 or more. In 1952, finding how helpless parents 




1‘2 


THE NEW ERA 


were when confronted by children’s questions on 
sexual matters, we secured the help of a psycho¬ 
logist who used as a basis for discussion a film 
called Human Growth, which showed how a human 
body is formed, explaining it clearly to a class 
of 12 to 14-year-olds. This drew large audiences, 
and the awkwardness of parents was soon over¬ 
come when they realized that other parents felt 
as uncertain and as awkward as themselves. 
Often the film was as enlightening to them as to 
the children for whom it was intended ! 

Another film that parents found very valuable 
was entitled How Children Are Influenced. It 
showed the importance of what parents expect 
from their children. A mother wants to keep her 
son tied to her apron-strings and is worried by 
any tendency to independence, while his father 
wants him to be pushing and successful and 
thinks his performances at school and on the 
games field are never good enough; the result 
is a timorous and unbalanced adult, unhappy in 
his married life and in his job. But the film does 
not remain entirely critical, for it ends by giving 
an example of the way the boy might be better 
handled. 

The Education Act of 1948 compelled us to 
take a stand in regard to the development of our 
school system. This Act introduced one type of 
school for all children up to 14, with a central 
compulsory curriculum core and optional courses 
to be followed or not according to the inclinations 
and abilities of the particular child. After 14 
there was a division into two types of school—the 
grammar school, and a practical branch with 
technical school following it at 15. Education 
was free and compulsory up to the age of 18. 
Co-education and the free provision of textbooks 
and school materials were firmly established by 
the Act, which made religious instruction the 
task of the churches. The law was a compromise, 
agreed upon between the parties. 

Soon after a remodelling of the schools had 
begun according to the Act, opposition arose in 
many quarters, so that when a new Parliament 
was elected in December 1950, with a new 
majority, it at once set about altering the law 
and issued a new regulation. We now have a 
common school up to 12 only, and after that 
schools divide into three branches -grammar, 
technical and practical. 

Our group set itself to oppose the new regula¬ 
tion. In the interests of a really democratic 


January 1953 

community, we thought it necessary to keep 
children of all classes working together in the 
same school. The law of 1948 had given every 
child an equal opportunity of developing all its 
capabilities. We deplored the reactionary ten¬ 
dencies already visible as the result of the new 
arrangement, since, owing to it, educational 
reform has now become an occasion for party 
strife. Yet, in spite of this unwished-for develop¬ 
ment, we are continuing to work for such a 
reform of the schools as shall create a democratic 
community, a real partnership between all 
sections of our people. 

During recent months we have turned our 
attention to a new problem, that of juvenile 
unemployment. On the 1st April, 1952, there 
were more than 25,000 adolescents between 15 
and 18 unemployed in West Berlin 25,000 young 
men and women with no jobs, no apprenticeship, 
depending upon the social services for their 
livelihood and tending, therefore, to look upon 
unemployment pay as the chief end in life ! We 
believe that the community has a responsibility 
for these young people, and have attempted to 
point to a means by which it could be fulfilled. 
Though much is being done to try and meet the 
problem, it has all been organized on a temporary 
and makeshift basis. The New Education Group 
drew up a memorandum suggesting as a part 
solution that two apprentices should share everv 
apprenticeship post in Berlin. Following the 
example of the Co-operative Part-time Schools in 
the U.S.A., these apprentices should take turn 
and turn about at their jobs and in the technical 
school, so that while one works the other studies. 
The arrangement would not only end adolescent 
unemployment (we have 30,000 apprenticeship 
posts in Berlin), but would also adapt education 
better to modern demands, which require workers 
with good technical knowledge and an acquaint¬ 
ance with the scientific principles underlying their 
jobs. Where this is impossible, we propose 
another year in the technical school to enable 
the adolescent to acquire a practical grounding 
in all the basic knowledge required by his trade. 
This training year should be completed by an 
examination, which would give the pupil a recog¬ 
nized status corresponding to his achievement. 
At the same time it could form a basis for a regular 
training and be reckoned as a part of his ap¬ 
prenticeship. 

We sent these proposals to all officials, Trade 


13 


January 1953 the new education 

Unions, Industrial Associations and Chambers of 
Commerce, thereby giving rise to a discussion 
which is still going on and which will finally, 
we hope, lead to a practical realization of our 
scheme. In some such way adolescents may be 
drawn again into the active life of the community 
and feel that they have a purpose in life and that 
society cares for them. 

This short account of what we have been 
attempting may give readers some idea of the 


MOVEMENT IN BERLIN 

work and objects of the New Education Group 
in Berlin. We know that our aims can never 
finally be realized, since each generation must 
strive for them anew. For they are nothing less 
than the achievement, through education, of 
mutual understanding and respect and a real 
partnership between all men and all nations. 

[We are indebted to Mr. Wyatt Rawson for the 
translation of this article from the German. — Ed.] 


SHIP ADOPTION 

S. E. Buckley. 


T he work of the Ship Adoption Society will 
already be known to readers of The New 
Era. I had been generally acquainted with 
it since it first started and had always looked 
upon it as one of the many ‘good ideas’ that 
modern education somehow finds room for. It 
was only when I read Seafarers, Ships, and 
Cargoes, 1 however, that I was fired with the 
desire to see the working of the scheme at closer 
quarters. 

Now, living as I do on the very threshold of 
the Drake family estate, within walking distance 
of Raleigh’s birthplace, and within sight of the 
waters that saw the coming of the Armada, it 
would seem a very simple wish to satisfy. I 
decided to play fair, however, and so I set course 
for Bampton. 

Bampton lies practically in the centre of 
Devon, almost equidistant from the Bristol and 
English Channels. Its Secondary Modern School 
is fortunate in its position, its delightful buildings, 
and its head master. Within five minutes of my 
entering the school I was hearing a great deal of 
interesting talk about the working of the scheme. 
I learnt, too, somewhat as a surprise, that ships 
and the sea were subjects almost outside the ken 
of the majority of the pupils of this Devon school. 
Yet I do not think I ought to have been surprised. 
Many of them rarely saw the sea; they belonged, 
almost exclusively, to a farming community, and 
their out-of-school activities and interests centred 
round the work of the farm. So there they were 
in the middle of a county which, if not sea-girt, 
was bounded by the sea on two sides, and yet 
they were almost completely cut off from first¬ 
hand knowledge or experience of it. 

1 Seafarers, Ships and Cargoes (ed. Leonard Brooks and R. H. Duce). 
University ot London Press, 10/6. Reviewed by Mr. Buckley in The New 
Era, June 1951. 


I found that the ship which they adopted 
some eighteen months earlier was an oil tanker 
running between the Persian Gulf and Shell- 
haven, with an occasional call at Rotterdam. 
Such a run might seem to have its limitations, 
and more of that later. The adoption was 
launched by a member of the staff, Mr. Bouquet. 
A few minutes’ talk with him showed that he 
had the right qualities to make any such scheme 
go—enthusiasm, vision, persistence, a Cambridge 
history degree, and four years’ war service in the 
Merchant Navy. So they got off to a good start. 
Ship adoption is no different from any other 
school activity in that way: given the guiding 
hand of someone who is really interested and 
sees its possibilities, it will yield good profits; 
allowed to run itself, it will die of stagnation. 

How did they get to work? First of all, of 
course, the children wrote their letters to the 
ship. The patience and keenness of the captain 
amazed me. He wrote an account of his ship, 
where it was going, what it did. He sent photo¬ 
graphs. He described the various members of 
the crew and what their work was. So stage two 
was reached, with different groups of pupils 
writing to various members of the ship’s company. 
I saw some of the pupils’ letters, and remarkably 
good they were. They talked naturally and easily 
about their daily life and work. I read the replies. 
Some of the best were from the steward boy who, 
in spite of his disclaimer that ‘letter-writing was 
never one of my good subjects’, wrote a breezy 
and informative letter, clear in every detail. 

Then the guiding hand came in to get the best 
out of all this correspondence. Scrap-books, of 
course, were desirable, and these were well 
started with the captain’s generous supply of 
photographs. A large map was put up and the 





THE NEW ERA 


14 

ship’s course was followed. There was a study 
of climate and weather changes. Mr. Bouquet 
saw the enormous possibilities of bringing real 
life into the teaching of geography, of history— 
and of literature, too. Even a run to the Persian 
Gulf and back provided vast material for anyone 
with the vision to see how to use it. Dozens of 
mere names all at once became real places to these 
bovs and girls in the heart of agricultural Devon, 
and a ship became something very much more 
than a shape which floats on the water. 

I should say that, apart from the obvious 
enjoyment of the whole thing, the main benefits 
have been threefold. First there has been the 
very definite broadening of horizons. Point has 
been given to the sort of writing to which Second¬ 
ary Modern people will largely be limited when 
they leave school—letter-writing. How much 
better, in any case, to write to the actual steward 
of s.s. Capso than to an imaginary aunt to thank 
her for a non-existent birthday present? And 
lessons in history and geography—and other 
subjects—have been lifted out of the academic 
to be given reality. 

Were there any criticisms? Just a few—of 


January 1953 

the constructive sort. Everything depends, of 
course, upon the enthusiasm and common sense 
of the person in charge of the scheme, combined 
with the imagination and patience of the ship’s 
captain — for it must need a degree of tolerance 
for a man with a job to do to sit down and write 
pleasantly to school children he has never seen. 
It was felt that there could be arranged a system 
by which, after a ship on one particular run had 
been adopted for so long, a change could be made 
to another voyaging to a different part of the 
world. Matters of detail like this could easily 
be rearranged. There are captains who like the 
correspondence and are good at handling it; a 
few regard it as a bit of a nuisance. That is no 
blame to them — it is just a question of differing 
personalities. But it is important enough to 
warrant some attention from the organizers, for 
children are quick to spot when their attentions 
are merely being tolerated. 

Such a lot of school activities are in danger of 
lacking definition, but this ship adoption seems 
to be soundly based on real happenings and 
people. No school, I feel, should omit at least 
to test its possibilities. 


AN EXPERIMENT IN TRAINING MALAYAN 

TEACHERS 

Dorothy J. Aickman , recently Superintendent oj Teacher-Training Federation of Malaya 


O n Monday, 17 th November, the 
Secretary of State for the 
Colonies, Mr. Oliver Lyttelton, 
declared open a Training College at 
Kirkby, near Liverpool, which has been 
temporarily taken over by the Govern¬ 
ment of the Federation of Malaya for 
the training of teachers for its English 
schools. This experiment, which is 
likely to have far-reaching results in 
educational advance in Malaya, has 
now been officially blessed. It is an 
experiment, too, which may well help 
towards solving Malaya’s great social 
problem, that of harmonious racial 
development. 

The first group of 149 students 
arrived at Kirkby from Malaya in 
January 1952; the second arrived 
in September. Approximately 300 
students are now installed, Malays, 
Chinese, Indians and Eurasians, w< men 
as well as men, drawn from all States 
ami Settlements, a cross-section of the 
plural society which to-day exists in 
Malaya, f ifteen mature teachers, for 


whom a special course has been 
devised, were included in the first 
group. On the completion of a two- 
year course of training, all will join the 
staffs of English schools throughout 
the Federation; schools, that is, for 
Malayan children, irrespective of race, 
where English is the medium of in¬ 
struction. To-day there is an un¬ 
precedented demand for places in such 
schools. There, as trained teachers, 
they will be able to help promote 
further development in teaching 
method, particularly at Primary level, 
for the beginnings of progressive 
methods arc already to be found in 
many Primary classrooms. They will 
thus become the nucleus of a body of 
teachers, aware of newer concepts in 
both training and teaching, and able, 
it is hoped, to apply these to local 
situations. Moreover, since there has 
been, so far, no college for the training 
of teachers in English schools in 
Malaya (the first, held up owing to the 
Emergency, is now in process of being 


built), the experience of being part of 
a multi-racial student community, en¬ 
gaged in working out for itself, in the 
course of living, working and playing 
together, essentially democratic prac¬ 
tices, should be of vital significance for 
the future of Malaya. 

Both Mr. Lyttelton and Dr. Mount- 
ford, the latter Vice-Chancellor of 
Liverpool University and Chairman of 
the Governing Body of the College, 
stressed such points at the Opening 
Ceremony. Mr. Lyttelton stated that 
in the immediate establishment of good 
relations between the races, the College 
had already provided a pattern for 
Malaya. 

Messages were read from the Mem¬ 
ber for Education, Dato Thuraisingam, 
from General Tcmjvlar, and from the 
Federal Director of Education. Finally, 
Mr. P. D. Rajadurai, a student from 
Kuala Lumpur and President of the 
Students’ Union, expressed the thanks 
of the assembled students to Mr. 
Lyttelton in a singularly able speech. 


The Year Book of Education, 
1952. Editors : J. A. Lauwerys and 
N. Hans. Published in Associa¬ 
tion with the University of London 
Institute of Education. (Evans 
Brothers. 63/-). 

The central theme of this volume of 
the Year Book is the reform and re¬ 
construction of education in the past 
five or six years since the war. Each 
year since 1948 your reviewer has 
read, with reasonable thoroughness, 
each volume of the Year Book as it 
appeared. The present volume main¬ 
tains the excellent standard of the 
previous ones, and, put together, these 
five large books provide a unique 
collection of reference data concerning 
the educational systems and develop¬ 
ing ideas on education in all countries 
of the world. The reform of education 
is a form of social change, and its study 
requires a comparative sociological 
method, in addition to the other 
methods by which its changes can be 
surveyed and evaluated. This socio¬ 
logical approach is exemplified in the 
1952 Year Book in a w r ay which, 
perhaps, interprets the power and 
place of education under present world 
circumstances, better than could be 
achieved by any other approach. This 
is particularly well shown by the long 
first chapter written by the editors. 

With a volume of this size it is im¬ 
possible to review all the sections in 
detail. Of the eight sections the first 
is of a general nature and the others 
deal respectively with the British 
Isles, the English-speaking countries, 
Europe, the U.S.S.R., the Middle East, 
Asia, and the British Tropical De¬ 
pendencies. With regard to accuracy 
of fact the reviewer must trust the 
distinguished contributors and the 
editors. It is perhaps most useful to 
report some of the general impressions 
which any reader is likely to receive, 
linked with the problems which these 
will raise in his mind. This will be 
attempted under three headings. 

(1) The reform of education depends 
on social forces. The direction of 
change in a country is determined by 
forces which are partly economic and 
technological, and partly the result of 
political and philosophical ideas. As 
economic and political power is dis¬ 
tributed in new and different ways, so 
new social groups begin to demand 
opportunities for the education which 
they conceive necessary for their 
function and status within their 
society. The conflicts which arise may 
be due to differences of political out¬ 
look and of social philosophy. In the 
western world such conflicts are typi- 


Book Reviews 

fled by the articles representing con¬ 
trasted Conservative and Socialist 
views in the United Kingdom, and the 
descriptions of the Progressive outlook 
and the alternative of the Liberal Arts 
and the 'Great Books’ Programme in 
the United States. The conflicts, on a 
larger scale, may be due to the impact 
of an ideology foreign to our western 
world, but which has spread from the 
U.S.S.R. to the countries directly 
under her influence, and is gaining 
pow r er throughout Asia and the East. 
In each case the arguments for the 
kind of education desired are based on 
a set of beliefs which the writer holds 
to be the best for his particular society 
and perhaps also as ideals of universal 
validity. 

(2) The meaning of reform differs 
widely throughout the world. As a result 
of the dependence of educational 
change on the stage of material pro¬ 
gress as well as on the prevailing 
climate of values, the concept and 
nature of educational reform will differ 
from one part of the world to another. 
In countries with complex industrial 
systems, where compulsory education 
for all is already well established, the 
social needs for more secondary, tech¬ 
nical, or university education, with 
equality of access for all pupils of the 
necessary ability, are those which 
engage the reformers and adminis¬ 
trators. In less advanced countries, as 
for example in most of Asia, Africa, 
and Latin America, wdiere book¬ 
learning is only for the few, equal 
opportunity for education has little or 
no meaning. Here one of the greatest 
needs and most urgent problems is to 
achieve mere literacy and the begin¬ 
nings of fundamental education for 
the masses, while at the same time 
preparing for the increasing develop¬ 
ment of machine production. Reforms 
are thus seen to be at different levels 
in different countries in the first place 
because of purely material considera¬ 
tions. In the second place different 
conceptions of the meaning of equal 
opportunity provide an example of 
how the internal structure of an 
educational system can depend on the 
prevailing theories of human nature. 
The comprehensive school of the 
U.S.S.R. and her near neighbours pro¬ 
vides a uniform curriculum, usually to 
the age of 15, for children of all 
abilities and social backgrounds, on the 
theory that differences between chil¬ 
dren’s abilities are predominantly, if 
not entirely, the result of material 
conditions and social environment. 
Equality of education therefore means 
the same education for all. 

The comprehensive school, or ecole 
unique, w'here it exists in Great 


Britain, Europe or the U.S.A., accepts 
a differentiation of post-primary edu¬ 
cation at some stage after 11 plus, and 
provides an academic stream and a 
choice of courses or elective subjects. 
Transfer from one stream to another 
is based on the theory that there are 
marked differences in ability and 
aptitude already existing in different 
children for which a suitable type of 
education should be provided at the 
right time for each child. This is not 
the whole story, for the comprehensive 
school is by no means common in 
Europe and it is still usual to find 
distinct types of education determined 
at an early age by wealth, or social 
class, or by examination or intelligence 
tests at a given stage of the child’s life. 
All these selective mechanisms can be 
given theoretical justification by people 
who may also call themselves, in some 
respect, reformers or believers in pro¬ 
gress. What is regarded as reform in 
some quarters may be regarded as a 
reactionary tendency in others. 

(3) What progress has been made ? 
After the second World War reforms 
in education w r ere everywhere being 
projected and planned. We in this 
country are, perhaps, a little dis¬ 
appointed that so little has been 
achieved in practice in spite of the 
great promise on paper of the 1944 
Act. Everywhere in Britain we find 
that shortages and expense are quoted 
as the obstacles to progress. This 
really means that the nation has not 
enough resources to give education 
priority while also rearming and main¬ 
taining our standard of living. 

Solid progress, in quantity at least, 
has been made in the U.S.A. because 
they are wealthy enough. There is no 
country in the world where so many 
years per head of the population is 
spent on full-time education. They 
can afford to spend more time than w r e 
do on general education at school 
and college, and postpone intensive 
specialization until later. 

Solid progress has also been made, 
from their point of view, in the 
U.S.S.R. because of their single-minded 
purpose through an enforced political 
unity, and their willingness to direct 
energy to a colossal reconstruction of 
their educational system. 

Among the other industrial countries 
of the West great efforts have been 
made by France, but most of the 
European nations, except those under 
Communist control, seem tired or 
lacking in inspiration, or torn by 
political or religious quarrels. 

In the less advanced countries, in¬ 
habited by two-thirds of mankind, we 
find vast illiterate masses, with little 
resources to found even primary 


15 


THE NEW ERA 


16 


January 1953 


schools, and little hop* of training the* 
teachers they require. Given a long 
period of international pace a basic 
educational plan could succeed, and 
perhaps correct, to some extent, the 
growth of intense aggressive national¬ 
ism. 

The spirit of democracy and respect 
for human personality are not wide¬ 
spread in the world, yet everywhere 
human livings are demanding social 
justice and a better way of life. It is 
not enough to Ik* conscious of our own 
needs. If we want a safer world we 
must Income conscious of the needs of 
others and help them where we can. 

A. K. C. Oil away 

Friedrich Froebel and English 
Education. Edited by Evelyn 
Lawrence. (University of London 
Press. 20/-). 

Here is a Centenary Symposium 
which successfully avoids the merely 
'reconnaissant' by assigning four of its 
five contributors tasks and titles 
explicitly concerned with ‘today’. This 
is not to underestimate the value of the 
historical chapters nor to wish them 
away. Indeed they are particularly 
necessary for those of us whose special 
interests and occupations are in fields 
other than the primary. Nor is there 
any lack of evidence that each of the 
contributors was careful to keep vividly 


aware of the views being expressed by 
the others and the total effect of the 
'stock-taking'. 

It is in the nature of the task that 
the longest contribution should be 
Miss Woodham-Smith's on l he History 
of the Froebel Movement in England. 
Her preliminary chapter The Origin of 
the Kindergarten is a model of brevity, 
and together these two papers put the 
reader in possession of the necessary 
facts about Froebel and place his 
theories and achievement soundly in 
the perspective of the history of educa¬ 
tional thought especially concerning 
the very young. His own early life 
has many clues to the sources both of 
his ideas and of his zeal for their ap¬ 
plication in precise detail as set out by 
him. For example, he records that 
throughout his life he was always seek¬ 
ing for hidden connections and an 
underlying unity in all things, and that 
he failed to find it in the piecemeal 
studies of school. From his Autobio¬ 
graphy we learn that as early as iSoo 
when attending lectures at the Univer¬ 
sity of Jena he could already ‘perceive 
unity in diversity, the correlation of 
forces, the interconnection of all living 
things, life in matter, and the principles 
of physics and biology.’ 

In 1805 he began to teach at Frank¬ 
furt Model School under Herr Gruner, 
a pupil of Pestalozzi, the great Swiss 


!*i t in n 


Puppet Plays 

By Lilian McCrea. These four books each 
contain three plays based on children's tradi¬ 
tional or fairy stories, or familiar songs. Great 
variety of entertainment is provided and 
instructions for making puppets and properties 
are given in drawings. Each 1/6 


Pottery Making 


By Denise K.Wren and Rosemary D.Wren. 
Illustrated. 16/- net 

"This is a book that can be strongly recom¬ 
mended to anyone interested, either actively 
or in a more general way. in the making of 
pots."— Studio. 

A Day with the Film Makers 

By Francis Rodker. Illustrated. 10 6 net 
"... gives a very clear, though simplified, 
account of the work of every department, and 
is admirably illustrated with black-and-white 
stills and diagrams. It is written primarily for 
children."— Kinemotogroph Weekly. 

F.B.’s Hobby 

By Nancy D. Stevens. An original approach 
to nature study. 

Book I In Woods and Fields 1 10 

Book II Cardens and the Waterside 2 6 

Book III Town and Country 2 8 


Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons Ltd. 

I'nrker Street • Kingstcas • London. W'.( .2 


Reading and Question Cards 

By E. E. Ellsworth. Illustrated in colour by 
Evelyn Simpson. A series of eight sets, each 
with twelve graded cards. Sets 5-8 have now 
also been published. 3/4 net 

"They provide a valuable addition to the 
material which ensures individual effort."— 
London Teacher. 

Sets I—IV 3/- each 



whose many novel beliefs included 
priorities for observing nature and 
using the hands over and before learn¬ 
ing from books. He soon wrote to his 
brother, ‘I felt as happy as the fish in 
the water, the bird in the air.’ His 
weekly walks with his pupils developed 
from the study of l>otany to that of 
environmental studies in geography. 
By 1*07 he had given up this appoint¬ 
ment and was full-time tutor to three 
private pupils whom he took next year 
to Pestalozzi’s institution at Yverdun. 
Mthough this period fired many of his 
purposes which later developed, at the 
close of his visit he felt ‘the deficiency 
of inner unity and interdependence as 
well as of outward comprehensiveness 
and thoroughness in the teaching 
there.’ 

The entwined threads and single 
increasing purpose of Frocbel’s methods 
arc in these chapters shown in develop¬ 
ing detail far too important for synop¬ 
sis. Many waters are seen to flow- 
together into that stream which later 
came to be called The New Education. 
The fierce controversies between vari¬ 
ous bodies having their own special 
theories and methods are objectively 
described with notes on the work of 
Professor John Dewey of Chicago and 
his followers, of Dr. Maria Montessori, 
and of Rachel and Margaret MacMillan, 
as well as the vivid criticism of Profes¬ 
sor Graham Wallas. After this it is 
good to read of a drawing together of 
so many different units when 'in 19211 
the I roebel Society, the New educa¬ 
tion Fellowship, the Nursery School 
Association and the Montessori Society 
joined in a conference with American 
teachers under the leadership of 
Professor Patty Smith Hill.’ There 
is indeed ‘a very direct connection 
between the work and ideas of Froebel 
more than a hundred years ago and 
the modern or progressive attitude 
towards children and their education.’ 

The second longest paper is that by 
Mr. Nathan Isaacs, O.B.K., on FroebeTs 
Educational Philosophy in 1952. At 
the outset he states the general 
problem involved in assessing any 
educational philosophy its direct and 
necessary origin in an ultimate philo¬ 
sophy. -Froebel’s principles and even 
his technical practices stemmed from 
his unique visionary total grasp and 
fervour regarding the fundamental 
nature of mankind and of all creation. 
For him the meaning and value of 
every part of his educational doctrines 
lay in that central faith; from this 
they all sprang, and this they were to 
provide with its living realization anti 
fulfilment. It is this continuity and 
singleness of his total view which 
constitute Froebel’s greatest signifi¬ 
cance for Education in our time. 
However, our assessment of any 
educational philosophy is bound to be 











January 1953 

coloured by our own. In the course 
of this paper will be found as useful a 
brief summary of the directions and 
findings of Child Study since 1900 as 
one has encountered anywhere. We 
are given Froebel and much more. 

Neither is that summary inapt to 
the whole volume. Nor is there in the 
l)ook anywhere a suggestion that its 
authors will resent its being studied 
for that reason. Rev. H. A. Hamilton, 
B.A., Principal of Westhill Training 
College, Selly Oak, writes of the 
Religious Roots of Froebel’s Philosophy. 
His chapter agrees that the modern 
Christian may find Froebel’s religion 
wanting in essentials of the Faith, 
for there was in it no reference to the 
Passion, the Resurrection, nor indeed 
to the Christmas Story. Yet for 
Froebel a school should be a community 
which functions in accord with those 
laws of love which are the nature of 
God. He was no advocate of dogma 
or didacticism but relied on his insight, 
however variable, rather than seeking 
any arbitrary consistency in setting 
forth a tidy system of thought. His 
own chequered childhood made him 
all the more fervent for that Love in 
the home which is the resultant of 
dependence and care, shared purpose, 
and mutual understanding. Evidence 
is not wanting in our time that there 
is all too often a serious falling away 
from this high concept of parental 
responsibility. Limited though it be, 
Froebel’s version of Christ confirms 
the central position of Man in the 
scheme of things and asserts his kinship 
with God. 

Without these two fundamentals 
Froebel’s basic philosophy could not 
have supported the structure of his 
edifice of method. He added a 
Christian philosophy to Rousseau’s 
philosophy of education. ‘Every 
human being should be viewed and 
treated as a manifestation of the 
divine spirit in human form.’ Froebel 
stressed the need of education for a 
purpose beyond itself to achieve a total 
unity in the child, in society and in the 
Divinity, but only with the last lies 
the ultimate purpose. In this syn¬ 
thesis we may in our time reconcile 
the complex, even contradictory, phe¬ 
nomena displayed to us and entangling 
our aims when we face the contempor¬ 
ary findings of the sociologist and the 
psychologist. ‘The very fact that the 
problems are more complex and the 
tensions sometimes more unbearable 
than Froebel seems to have known 
drives us back on the need for a faith 
which is ultimately as simple as was 
his.' 

Miss J. P. Slight, B.Sc., formerly 
adviser to Leeds and to Kesteven 
(Lines.) Education Committee, refers 
the work in contemporary primary 


BOOK REVIEWS 

schools back to its Froebelian origins, 
while Miss O. B. Pricstman, B.A., 
undertakes the same assignment in 
regard to our Independent Preparatory 
Schools. One feels that the editorial 
guidance of Miss Evelyn Lawrence has 
been much more vital than the ac¬ 
knowledged text suggests. The whole 
work has just the attitude of quiet 
enthusiasm which characterizes her 
talks to teachers and others, and per¬ 
vades the informal conversations in the 
course of which some of us came to 
know the real philosophies of Froebel 
for the first time. A careful reading 
of this well-ordered volume cannot fail 
to give even those who have made no 
previous special study of Froebel a 
broad view of and a deep insight into 
his teachings in the light of the in¬ 
creasing knowledge and understanding 
in the hundred years since his death. 

Ernest L. Fereday 

From Day to Day in the In¬ 
fant School. F. Irene Serjeant. 
(Blackie. 8/6). 

So skilled a trainer of young teachers 
as Miss Serjeant, not only sound on 
the theory of education but also with 
wide experience of its right application 
to the education of young children, is 
bound to write most helpfully both for 
students and teachers. In From Day 
to Day in the Infant School this state¬ 
ment is fully justified. 

The first two chapters give in simple 
language the findings both of psy¬ 
chologists and practical teachers on 
what children at that period of life 
need and how schools can supply the 
right types of environment and the 
conditions to make the hours spent 
therein fruitful and happy. 

By far the larger part of the book is 
devoted to describing the kind of 
environment, apparatus and material 
that should be provided for children 
of infant school age coupled with most 
interesting accounts of how children 
respond to such conditions; for the 
records of children’s responses Miss 
Serjeant has drawn on her wide ex¬ 
perience and that of her students who 
are teaching in good progressive 
schools. 

Such details of children’s work and 
play, are useful only as illustrative 
material for a given theory or as 
suggestions for the framing of the day’s 
programme in school. There is always 
the danger that a teacher will assume 
that because the children in one class 
of one school wished to count conkers 
or weigh flour for a cake, therefore it 
is right to tell other children to do 
likewise. 

It seems to me of the utmost im¬ 
portance that the chapters dealing 
with number interests should be read 


17 

carefully and followed with caution. 
Many of us think that the attempts to 
get children to record their number 
experiences are made too early and 
that written records should be left 
until at least the first year in the 
junior school. Number bonds take 
longer to become part of a child’s 
mental furniture than most teachers 
realize, for the capacity to generalize 
and to understand symbols is not 
common in children of under seven. 
Indeed, part of the fallacious general¬ 
izations that we all make from time to 
time may be partly due to the fact 
that in childhood we had to accept so 
many generalizations that we did not 
understand, and had little chance of 
proving. 

Miss Serjeant and many teachers 
would justify the laborious making of 
all kinds of apparatus by stating that, 
by doing so, they rouse the children’s 
interest in number. But at the right 
‘number age’ the children acquire that 
experience which rouses their interest 
in counting and simple calculation 
without the help of artificial stimuli, 
and for practical purposes certainly 
written records are not required before 
the age of seven or later. 

If only teachers could be induced to 
lengthen the practical stage and post¬ 
pone the recording of such experience, 
we should have fewer children who 
come to the age of eight with number 
knots that it takes great skill and 
patience to disentangle. 

But I am riding my own hobby 
horse and most teachers will be in 
agreement with Miss Serjeant. 

I must not end this review without 
praising the very charming and in¬ 
structive reproductions of the photo¬ 
graphs taken in schools of children at 
their work and play and of what they 
accomplished. 

N. Catty 

The Consolidation of Rural 
Schools by G. W. Parkyn. (New 
Zealand Council for Educational 

Research. 18/6). 

The Hadow Report was published 
in November 1926, and about a year 
later the first proposals for reorganizing 
schools were considered by Education 
Committees in England. In urban 
areas for the most part there was not 
much criticism when it was suggested 
that the children from two All Stand¬ 
ard Schools not far apart should be so 
reorganized that all those over twelve 
went to one, and those under twelve to 
the other. In rural areas, however, 
there was a strong reaction. The 
closure of the small village schools or 
the removal of children over twelve 
would break up the life of the village, 
and no children should be expected to 



18 


THE NEW ERA 


leave tho village for educational pur¬ 
poses unless it was to attend a 
Grammar School. There could t>c no 
benefit, it was said, the idea was a 
cranky one, ami great play was made 
of the break up of village life to which 
this would lead. Nevertheless, some 
County Education Committees went 
ahead and from 1928 onwards senior 
children have been gathered into Area 
(now Modern) Schools. Village life did 
not break up and educational benefit 
ensued; but die-hard critics continue 
to ignore the evidence of the success of 
the scheme. Some of us have wished 
that reports could be made available 
upon experiments conducted clsew here, 
as we knew r they had been, with suc¬ 
cess. That wish has now been met by 
the publication of this admirable 
report. 

In New Zealand, the problem of 
centralizing the small rural schools and 
of reorganization by taking the older 
children away from the younger was 
mooted long before it was in England. 
The Wanganui Education Board re¬ 
ported in 1889 that ‘with a view' to 
economy as well as increased efficiency 
in the teaching staff’ it had attempted 
w'ith success the amalgamation of the 
smaller schools. The Otago Education 
Board arranged for the transport of 
pupils, and by 1912 when the Cohen 
Commission sat ‘it was strongly 
recommended that another attempt at 
consolidation should be made forth¬ 
with’. This was the first time that 
‘consolidation’ was used in this context 
in official education papers. From 1925 
onwards, it became generally accepted 
policy. What then has been the ex¬ 
perience of New Zealand in applying 
such a policy ? 

The New Zealand Council for Edu¬ 
cational Research decided in 1946 to 
sponsor a comprehensive study of the 
educational and social effects of con¬ 
solidation, and appointed their Re¬ 
search Officer. H. C. McQueen, to do 
the work. In 1947 he accepted another 
post, and the Council then appointed 
G. W. Parkyn as the Research Officer 
with instructions to continue the 
survey. Mr. I’arkyn is well known in 
this country to a number of education¬ 
ists. He is a loyal and vigorous mem¬ 
ber of the New Education Fellowship, 
and was at one time Senior Lecturer in 
Education at the Eniversity of Otago. 
He has had long experience of rural 
education t>oth as pupil and as teacher. 
We expect something well worth 
reading and studying and we get it in 
his report. 

His objective survey of the situation 
is carefully made and nothing misses 
his shrewd observation and examina¬ 
tion. Amongst his findings we observe 
that: (i) the large school has the 
advantage in classification; (ii) the 
small schools on the whole have done 


better work in the basic skills than all 
but the largest town schools; (iii) the 
large schools have the advantage in 
specialization amongst staff, and the 
small schools show only ‘sporadic and 
uneven results’ in music, art, literature 
and cultural studies generally; (iv) a 
wide circle of friendship is open to the 
child in the large school; on the other 
hand, children in the small school 
learn to be responsible for the younger 
ones and to be looked after by the 
older ones in a way that is charac¬ 
teristic of family life. The older ones 
are, however, unable to develop fully 
their deeper social interests in a 
restricted circle; (v) both teacher and 
child in the small school get to know- 
one another much more intimately 
than elsewhere. Such understanding 
gives security to the child in the early 
years of life; (vi) the play essential to 
the social and emotional growth of 
little children can be provided at a 
small school, the older children arc 
unduly restricted ; (vii) walking, cycling 
and riding ponies is the usual way of 
going to the small school; the ’bus ride 
to the consolidated school introduces 
the child to a large company but these 
children spend on the average more 
time in travelling, and 'bus trips 
usually cause younger children more 
fatigue; (viii) the closing of a village 
school has had in most cases little 
direct effect upon the associational life 
of a locality When a teacher is 
removed from a village, he or she is 
greatly missed as one who always 
takes part in the organized activities 
of the community. Clubs and Asso¬ 
ciations may also suffer when a school 
is closed; (ix) closer relations between 
the parents and the school can be 


YOUNGSTERS IN 
YORKSHIRE 

Local History for the Family 
in Three Books 
By E. M. FLETCHER 

Fir*t Journey—TO THE WEST 

Second Journey—TO THE NORTH 

Third Journey—TO THE EAST 

7i"x 5J', profusely illustrated, school edition, 
limp cloth covers, 4/6 each. Also supplied in 
cloth boards, 6/6 net each. Post free 5/- and 
7/- respectively or 14/6 and 20/6 the three 
books. 

The historical stories unfolded during these 
three caravan holidays of exploration show 
the important part which the history of York¬ 
shire plays in the history of our Country as a 
whole. The conversational and homely style 
so ingeniously employed by the author, with 
the children speaking naturally, induces in the 
minds of the young readers a personal friend¬ 
ship with the characters in the books. 

P/ease write for illustrated pamphlet 

A. BROWN & SONS, Ltd. 

32 Brooke St., Holborn, London, E.C.1. 


January 1953 

fostered when the school is small and 
situated where the pupils live. The 
large school can suffer from lack of 
contact and from parental indiffer 
cnce; (x) in providing valuable ex 
perience for teachers, the small school 
lias the advantage; (xi) consolidation 
has reduced the number of responsible 
positions in the teaching service but 
lias increased the proportion of assist 
ants to Head Teachers in the Primary 
School. 

His report concludes with a number 
of recommendations. In general the 
local country school should be retained 
for children at the Primary stage. Mr. 
Parkyn thinks that the optimum size 
of a single teacher Primary school 
would be between 12 and 25 pupils; 
with few’er than a dozen it is hard to 
ensure a rich enough social experience 
Where it is not possible to retain a 
local Primary school, the children 
should be conveyed to the most suit¬ 
able neighbouring small school but in 
some places the configuration of the 
land, the location and conditions ol 
the roads and the available transport, 
may make it more convenient to 
convey them to a small township. 
Consolidated departments should be 
placed only in settlements that them 
selves have an effective community 
life and that are centres, at least 
potentially, of a wider communitv 
embracing the surrounding districts. 
The choice of the site should be deter 
mined only after careful study of tin* 
sociological structure of the district. 
It should never be chosen as the result 
of parochial jealousy and the struggle 
of local pressure groups 'acting from 
motives that are not relevant to 
educational needs’. In the larger town 
ships the consolidated schools should 
separate the Primary from the Second 
ary departments. The large Primary 
consolidated schools which exist in 
some centres should gradually l>o dis¬ 
established, possibly by reopening an 
outlying school and conveying children 
to it. Special care should be taken to 
select teachers for small schools and 
special help should be given to them 
in their exacting work. 

Mr. Parkyn has interesting recom¬ 
mendations to make about building 
and equipment and about the organiza 
tion of transport. One recommenda¬ 
tion will sound strange to us over here 
The practice of employing teachers, hr 
says, as 'bus drivers should l>e pro 
gressively discontinued. The fatigue 
and strain they suffer on the more 
difficult routes, the unavoidable in¬ 
terruption of their preparation for 
work and the obstacle to out-of-school 
co-operation with their colleagues far 
outweigh any advantages claimed for 
having teachers who can drive ’buses. 

The rural problem in New Zealand 
is not precisely the same as the rural 



BOOK REVIEWS 


January 1953 

problem in this country. Nevertheless, 
Mr. Parkyn's report would not be far 
out if it was submitted in part as a 
report on conditions in rural England. 
It must, therefore, be of very special 
interest to us. Mr. Parkyn’s wisdom 
and commonsense show in all his 
assessments and the book can be 
strongly recommended to all rural 
teachers especially and to all who are 
engaged in educational work in this 
country. There is always a lot to be 
learned from study of the ways and 
means employed by others to overcome 
their difficulties. Leslie R. Missen 

Change in English Education : 
A Historical Survey. H. C. 

Dent (University of London Press, 

6I-) 

This book grew out of four lectures 
which Mr. Dent gave to teachers in 
the Chichester area in 1950 in a course 
whose general title was The Sociological 
Background of Education. It is in the 
main a historical survey of the develop¬ 
ment of primary and secondary edu¬ 
cation within the statutory system by 
one who believes that contemporary 
educational problems will only be 
solved if the lessons of the past are 
adequately understood, and if edu¬ 
cational planning goes 'with the grain 
of the national character' and not 
against it. 

Accordingly, he surveys (1) the 
motives which led to the development 
of popular education from the founda¬ 
tion of the S.P.C.K. onwards; (2) the 
history of the gradual transfer of the 
control and direction of popular 
education from the voluntary agencies 
to the statutory authority from 1833 
to 1944; (3) the history of changes in 
the curricula of grammar, elementary 
and technical schools; and (4) the 
changed attitude to learning and 
teaching to-day, with special reference 
to ‘activity’, ‘fusion of subjects’ and 
teacher-training. The facts of edu¬ 
cational history are presented in a 
lucid and significant pattern, and both 
teachers and students-in-training who 
find most histories of education too 
lengthy and fact-crammed will find 
here a useful guide in their study of 
the English educational tradition, 
provided they remember that Mr. Dent 
ceases from time to time to be the 
historian and becomes the polemicist. 

He has given his own views on a 
number of controversial topics, among 
them the futures of different types of 
secondary school. He gives some 
sound advice on ‘Activity’, the ‘fusion 
of subjects’ and visual and measure¬ 
ment aids. Occasionally he invites 
challenge, as, for instance, when he 
expresses strong regret that many of 
the private schools to-day 'far from 


being in the van of educational thought 
and practice, lag pathetically in the 
rear, still—alas!—fondly imagining 
themselves to be pioneers’. It cannot 
be said that his book does justice to 
the ideas, individuals and movements 
which have contributed to the develop¬ 
ment of modern educational thought 
and practice. Some readers will no 
doubt regret that the other six lectures 
in the Chichester course, which dealt 
with the sociological and psychological 
backgrounds of modern education, 
were not also given in this book. 

Altogether, one arrives at the con¬ 
clusion that Mr. Dent, while not 
averse to ‘rational meditation’ as an 
aid to the solution of our educational 
problems, is over-confident that 
English empiricism will suffice to 
provide the solutions to most of these 
problems. The fact that the English 
educational system ‘grew slowly and 
empirically over a period of centuries’ 
is doubtless the source of much of its 
strength, but it is also responsible for 
some of its weaknesses. These weak¬ 
nesses Mr. Dent has largely ignored. 

Although more than one reader is 
likely to cross swords with Mr. Dent 
when he ceases to be the historian and 
becomes the controversialist, none will 
read his book without getting a fuller 
understanding of the motives and the 
significant events which have helped 
to shape the variegated pattern of that 
remarkable unity in diversity which is 
the English educational system. 

Alexander Laing 

Teaching Music in Schools. 

James Mainwaring. (Paxton. 7/-). 

The ever-increasing part played by 
music in adult life is in itself an indica¬ 
tion of the need to explore and under¬ 
stand some of its possibilities during 
the school years. James Mainwaring 
in the opening chapter of his book 
Teaching Music in Schools draws atten¬ 
tion to the part played by music in 
contemporary society, and the contri¬ 
bution it can make to the growth and 
development of the potential citizen. 
The place and function of music in 
present-day education is a subject 
which invites careful consideration 
and this book, as well as outlining some 
general principles involved in the 
teaching of school music, offers prac¬ 
tical comments and suggestions for the 
teacher. The author, presupposing his 
reader to have some background and 
skill, aims to show how ‘the ordinary 
teacher with average musicianship’ 
may use his gifts for the maximum 
benefit of the children. Throughout 
the book there is emphasis on the im¬ 
portance of children learning through 
interest and personal experience, but 
despite this, Mr. Mainwaring’s schemes 
show a rigidity which makes it difficult 


19 

to refrain from challenging his faith 
in modern methods of education. 

The main part of the book, however, 
is devoted to suggestions for class 
activities in singing, movement, per¬ 
cussion band and instrumental work, 
all of which are dealt with through the 
successive stages of the Infant, Junior, 
and Secondary schools. These chap¬ 
ters are concisely and systematically 
planned, as indeed the author says all 
school music should be. For teachers 
who seek some concrete material on 
which to base their work, this will be 
a helpful book, provided they have the 
ability and imagination to adapt and 
develop further for themselves. 

D. Flynn 

Children and the Theatre. 

Caroline E. Fisher and Hazel 
Cloister Robertson. Revised Edi¬ 
tion. (Stanford University Press, 
California. Price $4). London : 
(Geoffrey Cumberlege, Oxford 
University Press. 32/-). 

Miss Fisher, whose work in Drama 
arose from studies in the pedagogy of 
speech, here collaborates with Mrs. 
Robertson, M.A. (Education), Director 
of the Palo Alto ‘Children’s Theater' 
in a compendium of practical guidance 
of every aspect of producing plays 
acted by children for child audiences. 

In the earlier chapters the advan¬ 
tages of working away from the 
atmosphere of school are stressed, and 
the repetition of these claims will be 
wearisome to the English reader and 
give rise to charges of extravagance. 
The stress is on the educational value 
of developing the habits of the cast 
rather than on any gains which might 
accrue to the children in the audience, 
except perhaps the call to emulation. 

Among the new material in this 
Revision are sections on film-making 
and television. Palo Alto has had a 
successful project in making its sixteen 
millimetre film Titian, the Boy Painter, 
but this was on an elaborate scale and 
involved the services of a professional 
producer and director with a Holly¬ 
wood crew. The ‘cautions and ex¬ 
hortations’ in regard to possibilities in 
education for television programmes 
of the popular type such as the series 
under the general title ‘Stop, Look,- 
and Learn’, are timely and sound. 

It is the Third Section of the 
Volume which has most for the English 
reader and especially for the teacher. 
Its seventy pages, one third of the 
main text, give detailed information 
on Selection and Casting, Rehearsing, 
Directing and Acting, Costume, Mount¬ 
ing, most of which is directly adaptable 
to school conditions in this country. 
Such matters as Finances and Pub¬ 
licity are also the subject of detailed 


20 


THE NEW ERA 


advice, but this is less capable of 
application to our own conditions. 

The next fifty to sixty pages com¬ 
prise brief notes on Direction, Manu¬ 
script. Designing. Lighting, Scenery, 
Costume, Make-up, Properties, Effects, 


Safety Precautions, etc., and though 
these are called ‘Appendices’ they 
contain some useful material very 
accessibly set out. if one is a little 
patient with technical terms which 
differ slightly from our own. It would 


January 1953 

be difficult to find elsewhere so useful 
a series of guides in this field, and the 
Glossary is to be highly commended 
although we have English publications 
which have achieved this sort of aid. 

Ernest L. Eercday 


Directory 


BRYANSTON SCHOOL 

BLANDFORD, DORSET 

Chairman of the Governors : 

Eric Farmer, M.A. 

Headmaster: T. F. COADE, M.A. 

(Christ Church, Oxford) 

A Public School, founded in 1928, which 
attempts to unite progressive education 
with what is best in the old Public School 

tradition. 

FOUR SCHOLARSHIPS (£175— £100), 
a MUSIC SCHOLARSHIP (£100), 
an ART SCHOLARSHIP (£100), 

and to boys of good character and all¬ 
round ability Two Bursaries of £100 
will be offered at the end of May, 1953. 
These awards are tenable for four years. 

Full information may b« obtained by 
writing direct to the Headmaster. 


KILQUHANITY HOUSE 

CASTLE DOUGLAS SCOTLAND 

FOR BOYS AND GIRLS 3-18 YEARS 

Established in 1949 , Kilquhanity House 
frankly owes its inception to the work of 
A. S. Neill, who now considers it in the 
direct line of his own school and that of 
Homer Lane. It does not, however, cater 
for problem children. In practice there 
is an attempt to combine the traditional 
thoroughness of Scottish education with 
self-government for the pupils. Activity 
methods are used throughout, and the 
teaching staff is qualified to the standards 
demanded by the Scottish Education 
Department, which inspects the school. 
There is ample opportunity for practice 
in all the creative arts. A small mixed 
farm is a fundamental part—as distinct 
from an adjunct—of the school. The 
diet is on food reform lines, though chil¬ 
dren do not require to be vegetarian. 

Fett : £150-£180 PER ANNUM 
H**dm*it*r: J. M. AITKENHEAD, M.A. (H*n».), Ed.B 


of Schools 


DARTINGTON HALL 

TOTNES DEVON 

Headmaster : YV. B. CURRY, M.A., B.Sc. 

A co-educational boarding school for 
boys and girls from 7-18 in the centre of 
a 2,000 acre estate engaged in the 
scientific development of rural industries. 
The school gives to Arts and Crafts, 
Dance, Drama and Music the special 
attention customary in progressive 
schools, and combines a modern outlook 
which is non-sectarian and international 
with a free and informal atmosphere. It 
aims to establish the high intellectual 
and academic standards of the best 
traditional schools. 

Fees : £ 210-£260 per annum. 

Scholarships are sometimes available, 
and further information about these 
may be obtained from the Headmaster. 


BEDALES SCHOOL 

PETER.SFIELD HANTS (Founded 1893 ) 

A Co-educational Boarding School for boys and 
girls from 11^-18. Separate Junior School for 
those from 5-11. Inspected by the Ministry of 
Education. Country estate of 150 acres. Home 
Farm. Education is on modern lines and aims at 
securing the fullest individual development in, 
and through, the community. 

Headmaster : H. B. JACKS,M.A.(Oxon.) 


Wychwood School, Oxford 

RICOGMIID BY MINISTRY OF EDUCATION. 

Maximum of 80 girls (boarding and day pupils) 
aged 10-18. Small classes, large graduate staff. 
Education in widest sense under unusually 
happy and free conditions. Exceptional health 
record. Elder girls can work for universities, 
can specialize in Music, or take year’s training 
at Wychlea (Domestic Science House). 
Playing fields, bathing pool. 

Pnnctpmlt : Miss MARGARET LEE, M.A. (Oxon.) 

Late Univenity Tutor in English. 
Mis* E. M. SNODGRASS, M.A. (Oxon.) 
































THE NEW ERA 

1 N HOME AND SCHOOL 


MORAL VALUES AND PROGRESSIVE 

EDUCATION 

J. W. Tibbie, Projessor oj Education, University College, Leicester 


P rogressive education in the last hundred 
3 ’ears developed as a series of movements 
which were sharply critical of the main 
tradition of educational practice. Until about the 
middle of the nineteenth century the protests of 
critics and the practices of pioneer teachers here 
and there had modified the tradition hardly at all. 
The establishment of universal education — the 
size of this problem, the range of children to be 
catered for, and in particular the need to train 
teachers for these children — led to a search for 
the underlying principles on which practices are 
based and a general questioning of procedures 
and methods. 

Three things then happened which affect the 
climate of education to-day: (1) Educational 
theory itself became a tradition, a progressive 
tradition, the successive waves arising as critical 
developments of the ideas and practices of earlier 
pioneers. (2) This developing body of theory 
began to affect educational practice, not sporadi¬ 
cally and occasionally as in the past, but more 
generally and systematically. The main instru¬ 
ment which brought this about was the develop¬ 
ment of teacher training as a system of education 
within the larger scheme of general education. 
If it were to be more than a narrow vocational 
training, a collection of hints and tips to teachers, 
it must rest on pedagogical principles which 
answered questions about the aims and purposes 
of education. Furthermore, the setting of teacher 
training led to a comparative treatment of 
methodology. Which method is better ? How do 
we know that this is so ? Under what conditions 
can these results be achieved ? (3) This kind of 

concern led to a linkage between educational 
thought and psychology and, later on, the social 
sciences in general. The first attempts to treat 
education as an applied science are seen in this 
country toward the end of the century. Sir 
John Adam’s Herbartian Psychology Applied to 
Education was immensely influential. The same 


period saw the beginnings of child psychology 
with the work of Preyer, Stanley Hall, Sully and 
Binet; and these and later surveys and measure¬ 
ments of children’s abilities, aptitudes and 
attitudes provided support and techniques for 
the progressive education movement launched in 
Chicago at the turn of the century. 

In The School and Society (1900) Dewey re¬ 
stated Froebel’s educational principles, calling 
attention to the two main strands in progressive 
educational theory. The first is the respect for 
the integrity and individuality of each child, 
regarded as an end in himself and as having 
within him the capacity for experience, activity, 
integration and growth which are the basis of all 
education. Secondly, the social aspects of this 
experience and activity are stressed, since human 
growth always takes place in and through a 
community. If it is society, in Rousseau’s view, 
which enslaves and perverts men, it is also only 
through society that they can achieve full 
humanity. 

Clearly, these two strands are closely related 
and this relationship has implications for the 
main theme of this paper—moral values in 
education. Since Rousseau was the first to define 
the problem in its modern setting (it is perhaps 
his greatest achievement), it may be useful 
to begin with that. As Rousseau saw it, neither 
God nor nature is responsible for the evil we see 
in man’s behaviour. Evil arises out of the 
empirical, historical existence of mankind. ‘The 
individual as such, as he comes from nature’s 
workshop, is still without the pale of good and 
evil. He follows his natural instinct of self- 
preservation, and he is governed by his “self- 
love”; but this self-love has not yet degenerated 
into “selfish love” whose only satisfaction lies in 
the subjection of others to its will. Society alone 
is responsible for this kind of selfish love.’ 1 
Rousseau rejects, then, the view of an original 

1 E. Cassirer, The Philosophy of the Enlightenment, p. 157. 


21 







22 


THE NEW ERA 


February 1953 


perversion of the human will and the idea of the 
fall of man, while facing squarely the degeneration 
and evil he saw in the society of his time. But if 
these historic societies, into which men had 
stumbled, had made them evil, was not a society 
conceivable which would make them good ? 1 he 

worst evil lay in the loss of freedom, being 
subjected to the arbitrary will of others. True 
morality is impossible without freedom. / he 
Social Contract is Rousseau's blueprint for trans¬ 
forming society from a product of blind necessity 
to one of freedom. The fact that he used, as tools 
for his thinking, the concepts of his time, the 
state of nature, the contract, the general will, 
does not invalidate his diagnosis of the problem, 
as Kant and many later thinkers have recognized. 
Morality implies both freedom and law; and when 
we act as fully moral beings we do, in some sense, 
will the common good. 

Young children are not, of course, capable of 
fully moral, fully rational behaviour. In Emile, 
which was published in the same year as The 
Social Contract, Rousseau is asking what kind of 
education will best ensure that the child will be 
capable of such behaviour when he reaches the 
adult stage. Fmile certainly fits, as few' books on 
education do, Lord Keynes’ prescription that 
words ought to be a little wild because they are 
the assaults of thought upon the unthinking. Its 
overstatements and paradoxes were aimed at the 
many stupidities in the child rearing and educa¬ 
tional practice of the time. ‘ l ake the road 
directly opposite to that which is in use, and you 
will almost alw'ays do right.’ 

Hence the first part of education should be 
purely negative, we should do everything by 
doing nothing, books only teach people about 
w'hat they do not understand, w*e should keep 
aw'ay from moral questions, never command 
anything, give no verbal instructions, lose time 
not save it, and so on. These make sense if 
related to the abuses Rousseau w'as attacking. 
His main point, however, lay in the paradox 
w'hich progressive education now' accepts as a 
truism: that if we want £mile to become a fully 
rational moral adult w f e must let him be as fully 
and freely a child as the nature of childhood 
permits. Childhood has its own w r ays of feeling, 
thinking, behaving, its own tempo of develop¬ 
ment, and £mile must realize himself in this 
w'orld, live through its stages if he is to reach the 
adult world with his will and reason uncorrupted. 


FRIEDRICH FROEBEL 

AND 

ENGLISH EDUCATION 

Edited by 

EVELYN LAWRENCE, B.Sc. (Econ.), Ph.D. 

Director of the National Froebel Foundation 

To commemorate the centenary of Friedrich 
Froebel’s death, the National Froebel Foundation 
invited five educationists, closely associated with 
the modern Froebel movement, to contribute to 
this book. They have described Froebel’s life, the 
history of his influence in this country and the 
work of those state and private schools where the 
effect of his doctrine is most apparent. 

" . . . all friends of education will welcome this 
excellent book.” Manchester Guardian. 

20/- net. 

THE EDUCATION ACT, 

1944 

H. C. DENTJ 

In simplified yet accurate language, Mr. Dent details 
the Act clause by clause, commenting on important 
points and indicating where public support is most 
needed. For the teacher, parent or student who 
wishes to keep well-informed and up to date on 
the Act and its administration, this handbook is an 
invaluable guide. 

“ A most useful book for all who wish to know 
what the Act promises and how it can be made to 
work.” Teachers World. 

Fourth Edition 6/6 net. 

A YEAR’S COURSE IN 
SPEECHTRAINING 

anne h. McAllister 

Lecturer in Speechtraining, Jordanhill Training College, 

Edinburgh 

In this new edition there has been added a Table 
of the Sounds of English (Received Pronunciation) 
as represented by the symbols adopted by the 
International Phonetic Association. A question¬ 
naire, which has been in practical use for several 
years at Jordanhill College, has also been added as 
a further aid to students. 

Eighth edition. 6/6 net. 

Inspection copies of these books and/or 
1953 Editions of Infant and Primary School 
Catalogues are available on application. 

UNIVERSITY OF LONDON PRESS LTD. 
Warwick Square, London, E.C.4. 






February 1953 moral values and 

m/ 

This does not mean letting children do as they 
like; they must realize ‘the heavy yoke of 
necessity’ imposed by their weakness and depen¬ 
dence. If fimile ought to abstain ‘forbid him not, 
but prevent him, without explanation or argu¬ 
ment . . . grant with pleasure and refuse with 
reluctance . . . but let the no! once pronounced 
be as a brazen wall, against which when a child 
hath some few times exhausted his strength 
without making any impression, he will never 
attempt to overthrow it again.’ 

Clearly, what Rousseau is aiming at here, on 
the level of childhood, corresponds to his aim for 
adult political man as formulated in The Social 
Contract', the capacity for control, self-control, 
acceptance of law, without breaking of the will, 
without being subjected to adult authority 
through ‘emulation, jealousy, envy, pride, covet¬ 
ousness and servile fear’. We must always keep 
in mind Rousseau’s distinction between ‘natural 
man’ and ‘civilized man’, which he assumes as a 
logical device, not as a means of historical or 
empirical description. The term ‘good’ is used in 
relation to both categories, and clearly the mean¬ 
ing is different in each. When Rousseau calls 
natural man good he means that his impulses are 
directed toward self-preservation and freedom, 
which in a non-social state would be the highest 
good. ‘Our natural passions are extremely 
limited; they are, however, the instruments of 
our liberty, and tend to our preservation.’ 
Good in this sense means something like useful, 
of practical value to the self-regarding ego, 
whereas moral good, of which the opposite is 
evil, appears only when our relations with others 
are concerned; it is a creation of man’s social life. 
The two senses are made clear in this quotation: 
‘This passion (self-love) considered in itself, or as 
relative to us, is good and useful; and, as it has 
no necessary relation to any one else, it is in that 
respect naturally indifferent: it becomes good or 
evil, therefore, from our application of it, and 
the several relations we give it.’ 

The distinction can be more adequately made 
with the aid of later psychological concepts: in 
particular, by reference to Freud’s delineation of 
the impulsive, impersonal id, the executive ego, 
and the controlling super-ego, with its social intro- 
jections and identifications. Rousseau’s natural 
man would have an id and an ego but not a 
super-ego and what Rousseau was saying about 
child training was in effect this, ‘For goodness 


23 

sake don’t built up a primitive super-ego in the 
child, he is bound to misunderstand your moral 
precepts and admonishments; keep him free of 
all this until his will is strong and his reason has 
developed and he is capable of truly moral 
behaviour.’ It cannot be, of course; social 
behaviour, involving problems of human relation¬ 
ships, begins at birth, or soon after, when the 
child finds it necessary to adjust to two or more 
persons at once. But in some sense, with what¬ 
ever refinements, the distinction Rousseau is 
calling attention to has a certain validity for 
those responsible for child training. Young 
children are capable of error, egocentricity, 
temper tantrums, hate feelings, but not surely of 
sin, in any sensible use of the term. The assump¬ 
tion that they are, and treatment designed to 
eradicate, or at any rate suppress, their sinfulness 
has bedevilled centuries of child training and 
education. Every day was judgment day in the 
traditional classroom. In moral training we can 
certainly with advantage follow Rousseau's 
advice to lose time rather than save it, to make 
haste slowly. In the words of Br. Rickman 1 
‘There is a proper tempo in the assimilation of 
problems of morality which is peculiar to every 
individual, and nothing is harder, just as nothing 
in the long run is more rewarding, than a percep¬ 
tion of that tempo. Short cuts to morality are 
neither moral nor are they short. 

‘Morality cannot be implanted in a person, it 
can grow only at its own time and in its own way. 
Certain types of behaviour can, of course, be 
forced on a child or on an adult, but that is not 
morality. Morality is not behaviour in con¬ 
formity to a standard of conduct, but the ex¬ 
pression of a good relationship already existing 
in the mind and finding expression in everyday 
action and in crisis. 

‘Morality involves a sensitive perception of the 
codes of ethics in the community, but the person 
must not lose himself in an identification with 
that community; one of the values of morality 
is its highly individual quality; perhaps . . . that 
is one of its chief biological (survival) values'. 

When we turn from Rousseau to Dewey, we 
find the social nature of moral values not stated 
in paradoxical form but fully elaborated and 
exemplified. The essentially social nature of 
man’s behaviour and consciousness is indeed the 
basic theme of his philosophy and affects all his 

i Year Book of Education, 1951. Section 1, Ch. 4 


PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION 


A2 








24 


THE NEW ERA 


February 1953 


thought on education. Dewey’s attention is 
focussed on the point of interaction between the 
individual organism and the universe, and the 
point is a moving one. There is nothing in the 
universe or in man which is complete, certain, 
final, simple or determinate. The world is 
characterized throughout by process and change. 
Hence values do not exist in any ultimate or final 
manner but as functions in the individual-social 
flow of events. Dewey has no use for transcen¬ 
dental moral values and is sharply critical of ends 
or ideals which become ‘a synonym for whatever 
is inspiring—and impossible.’ Ends arise and 
function within action not beyond it and life is 
essentially action; thought, contemplation should 
arise from action and be subordinate to it. 
Dewey argues also that this pragmatic theory of 
values fuses inner motives and outer behaviour in 
purposeful action and avoids the quarrel in ethics 
between those who stress motives and intentions 
and those who stress conduct and consequences. 
Conflict between these two stresses can be 
particularly confusing to children and young 
people. Union between inner and outer is 
achieved when each situation is approached 
freshly as a new situation, when intentions are 
not regarded as ends in themselves but as 
operational instruments which may emerge in 
fruitful acts. 1 

Clearly the dichotomy between natural and 
civilized man disappears in Dewey’s analysis. In 
Human Nature and Conduct, he deals first with 
habits as social functions, habits and will, custom 
and habit and then passes on to impulse and 
instinct. To the query why he did not begin with 
activities which are native and original instead of 
those which are secondary and acquired, he 
replies with a paradox. ‘In conduct the acquired 
is the primitive. Impulses although first in time 
are never primary in fact; they are secondary 
and dependent.’ This arises from the fact of 
infancy, because each human being begins life 
completely dependent upon others, and his 
behaviour is affected by this from the first. 
‘Even if by some miracle original activity could 
continue without assistance from the organized 
skill and art of adults, it would not amount to 
anything. It would be mere sound and fury. In 
short, the meaning of native activities is not 
native, it is acquired. It depends upon inter¬ 
action with a matured social medium.’ This leads 


MU*mh§ F<• hriiai'u 



PATHFINDER 

INTRODUCTORY 

BOOKS 


by 

John and Peggy Bradley 

Written specially to help children 
who have failed in their first 
attempts to learn to read, these 
books give the very weakest reader 
a new start. 

The stories and illustrations are 
lively and stimulating; the vocabu¬ 
lary is strictly controlled; the ex¬ 
ercises, constructed to arouse maxi¬ 
mum interest in the matter, contain 
a strong emphasis on drawing, 
writing, and practical work. 

The books are sufficient in them¬ 
selves to help the older reader and 
serve as preparatory books for the 
well-known Pathfinder Series. 

Prices : 

A—1/3 B—1/3 C—1/6 

Write for inspection copies to 

OLIVER A HOVII 

Tweeddale Court, Edinburgh 


• Democracy and Education, Ch. 26. 











February 1953 moral values and progressive education 


25 


him to a criticism of the current formulations of 
instinct theory and of the absurdity of trying to 
derive the immense variety of human customs 
and institutions from an array of instinctive 
tendencies. For Dewey the most important 
characteristic of human impulse, of basic human 
nature, is its plasticity: in the young, impulses 
are highly flexible starting points for activities 
which are diversified according to the ways in 
which they are used. In a sense, then, a human 
society is always starting afresh, and human 


customs and institutions are modified in the 
process. This continuous alteration has, for the 
most part, been unconscious and unintended. 
But there has now grown up some consciousness 
of the extent to which a future new society of 
changed purposes and desires may be created by 
a deliberate humane treatment of the impulses 
of youth. ‘This is the meaning of education; for a 
truly humane education consists in an intelligent 
direction of native activities in the light of the 
possibilities and necessities of the social situation. 
But for the most part, adults have given training 
rather than education. An impatient, premature 
mechanization of impulsive activity after the 
fixed pattern of adult habits of thought and 
affection has been desired.’ 1 

Original plasticity has been warped, the child’s 
docility taken mean advantage of, loaded with 
convention, biassed by adult convenience. The 
delightful originality of the child is tamed. 
Adults distrust the child's intelligence while 
demanding a kind of conduct which requires a 
high order of intelligence if it is to be intelligent 
at all. The inconsistency is reconciled by in¬ 
stilling ‘moral’ habits which have a maximum of 
emotional empressement with a minimum of 
understanding and these deeply ingrained 
habitudes persist as infantilisms and irrationalities 
in the adult. ‘And yet,’ Dewey goes on, ‘the 
intimation never wholly deserts us that there is 
in the unformed activities of childhood and youth 
the possibilities of a better life for the community 
as well as for individuals here and there. This 
dim sense is the ground of our abiding “idealiza¬ 
tion of childhood’’.’ And he goes on to point 
out that the renewing of habit and impulse never 
wholly ceases to play its refreshing role in adult 
life, modifying the rigidities of custom. He wants 
the process to be more under man’s conscious 
control. ‘The moral problem in child and adult 


\ 


V> 


/ 


alike as regards impulse and instinct is to utilize 
them for formation of new habits, or what is the 
same thing, the modification of an old habit so 
that it may be adequately serviceable under 
novel conditions ... a valid moral theory contrasts 
with all those theories which set up static goals 
(even when they are called perfection), and with 
those theories which idealize raw impulse and 
find in its spontaneities an adequate mode of 
human freedom. Impulse is a source, an in¬ 
dispensable source, of liberation; but only as it is 
employed in giving habits pertinence and fresh¬ 
ness does it liberate power.’ For it is equally 
important to remember that ‘Convention and 
custom are necessary to carrying forward impulse 
to any happy conclusion’, and ‘To view institu¬ 
tions as enemies of freedom and all conventions 
as slaveries, is to deny the only means by which 
positive freedom in action can be secured.’ 2 

I have dealt with this at some length because 
I wanted to show that Rousseau and Dewey are 
dealing with the same problem and that it is a 
fundamental problem for education and life. 
Certainly the distinction we noted earlier between 
the two senses of good disappears in Dewey’s 
scheme. ‘The reason for dividing conduct into 
two distinct regions, one of expediency and the 
other of morality, disappears when the psychology 
that identifies ordinary deliberation with calcula¬ 
tion is disposed of . . . The recognition of the true 
psychology also reveals to us the nature of good 
or satisfaction. Good consists in the meaning that 
is experienced to belong to an activity when 
conflict and entanglement of various incompatible 
impulses and habits terminate in a unified orderly 
release in action.’ 3 

Now you may not find that a very satisfactory 
definition of the good; and we have to agree, I 
think, with those who critize the pragmatists for 
establishing their case by smuggling in terms 
which cannot be accounted for on their premises 
alone: terms like ‘happy conclusion’, ‘liberation’, 
‘true’, ‘real’, ‘orderly’ which appear in the 
quotations 1 have used. We might say indeed 
that Dewey’s formulation satisfies him because 
he is taking for granted moral values from the 
main stream of western religious and philosophic 
thought. Like all of us he is more in debt to the 
traditions he attacks than he is fully able to 
realize. His position is in a sense writ large and 
much more Crudely in American civilization 



3 Ibid., pp. 104-5. 


sj i 



1 Human Na ure and Conduct, p. 96. 


160-7. 






THE NEW ERA 


26 

to-day. Consciously it is largely pragmatist and 
experimental: but, fortunately for the world 
maybe, these attitudes protrude from a back¬ 
ground which includes many values and ideals 
which it would be difficult to establish on a 
pragmatic basis alone. The pragmatist is rather 
like a sailor steering his boat by compass. He is 
right in stressing that his main job is to keep his 
eye on his compass needle and his sails and the 
weather and remember his sailing directions and 
make all the necessary adjustments to keep the 
boat on its course. But he is wrong if he says 
that anything so distant and transcendant as the 
magnetic pole is irrelevant to his situation. And 
if it is not his job to speculate about magnetic 
fields and the like, it is certainly valid for some¬ 
body else to do so. 

I suggest that as teachers we are in a position 
similar to the sailor’s. We need our distant 
points of reference — fixed stars, magnetic poles, 
countries of destination and origin — as well as 
our pointer readings which record the incessant 
changes of our immediate situation. As I said 
earlier, it is absurd to treat each day in school, 
in traditional style, as if it were the day of 
judgment; but it is equally absurd for the teacher 
to begin each morning as if this were the first day 
of creation. 

We may well question, then, whether the 
individual-social life process is a sufficient ex¬ 
istence base for moral values. Some values 
undoubtedly do have their basis in this process; 
they might include evil — Rousseau and Froebel 
would agree — and certain mixed values and ap¬ 
proximate goods, but no ultimate goods; there 
is no place for these in Dewey’s scheme. Again 
we might ask whether social efficiency is an 
adequate educational goal and whether the ex¬ 
perimental method is not applied too universally 
and arbitrarily. We can grant that these are 
very important aspects of educational aim and 
method but may also hold that other general 
aims and methods are equally important, c.g. the 
steady pursuit of knowledge or skill for which 
no pressing immediate problem provides the 
stimulus; or the resolution of a contradiction 
among ideas which has no reference to an im¬ 
mediate situation. I need not enlarge on some of 
the excesses perpetrated in the name of pro¬ 
gressive education in America. Dewey himself 
lived long enough to criticize them sharply and 
to disown some of his alleged offspring. And it is 


February 1953 

in any case good and proper that a body of 
educational theory in this country and the U.S.A. 
should have arisen in recent years which is 
critical of Dewey and the progressive movement. 

Having said that, I think we can be fully 
grateful to Dewey for stressing that the essence 
of the teacher’s task, when he is teaching, is to 
concentrate on the changes and adjustments 
taking place in a very fluid situation, the class¬ 
room situation. The aims and goals and standards 
and subject matter are all important, but should 
be in the background of our consciousness as we 
teach; the foreground should be occupied in 
watching the points of interaction between the 
child's mind and the world, the inter-relationships 
among the children and between them and us. 
None of these can be directly observed; and if 
we are as teachers specially skilled at anything, 
it is surely a skill in noticing and interpreting the 
clues offered us by children’s behaviour in the 
classroom and school situation; and in responding 
by adjustments which will increase understanding, 
decrease bafflement, reduce conflict and strain, 
produce harmony and satisfaction. It is a craft 
which can fully extend us, of whose mysteries 
and subtleties we need never come to an end; 
on our best days it may rise to an art. From this 
point of view, what ham performers were the old- 
timers with their gesturing canes and booming 
voices and threats and exhortation. And alas ! 
how often do conditions force us to fall short 
of the highest standards of craftsmanship even 
to-day. 

To return from practice to theory, we may 
note that Dewey’s emphasis on the individual- 
social situation has been caught up into what is 
undoubtedly the dominant theme of psychological 
thought and research in the last twenty years. 
Work has been done in a varietv of fields which 
not only provides a much more detailed picture 
of social inter-relationships, but which also 
provides better formulations of the problems and 
new techniques for studying them. As Gardner 
Murphy points out, ‘every nook and cranny of 
psychology has been invaded with the conception 
of structure, or system, or interdependence; 
every theoretical system to-day either rejects 
atomism or admits its incompleteness, or at 
least apologizes for it . . . Since in general the 
trend is clearly in accord with general trends in 
physics toward fields and wholeness, and general 
trends in biology toward the actualization of 


February 1953 


MORAL VALUES AND PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION 


evolutionary patterns involving the interdepend¬ 
ence of organs, of whole individuals and of species, 
this movement in psychology is fully in the 
modern spirit.’ 1 Thus we may mention the field 
theory of Lewin and his school, Moreno’s work in 
social psychology, Piaget’s child study, the modi¬ 
fication of Freudian theory by Horney, Fromm, 
and Erickson, shifting the emphasis from bio¬ 
logical to social, Sherif’s experimental work and 
the influence of cultural anthropology through 
the studies of Malinowski, Linton, Mead, Benedict 
and others leading from field studies of primitive 
peoples to studies of culture patterns within 
Western Civilization itself. 

I have time to select only one example which 
is relevant to our theme. In Childhood and Society, 
Erickson is concerned, as a psycho-analyst who is 
also a field anthropologist, with remapping the 
interactions between innate impulses and social 
habits, and with the relationships between child 
training and later norms of behaviour and 
personality traits. He notes that the recurrent 
theme of psycho-analysis has been the frustration 
of childhood affecting the individual’s later life. 
‘In this book we suggest that, to understand 
either childhood or society, we must expand our 
scope to include the study of the way in which 
societies lighten the inescapable conflicts of 
childhood with a promise of some security, 
identity and integrity. In thus reinforcing the 
values of the ego, societies create the only con¬ 
dition under which human growth is possible’, 2 
and he goes on, ‘The study of identity, then, 
becomes as strategic in our time as the study of 
sexuality was in Freud’s time.’ Rousseau, we 
may add, was equally concerned with both, in his 
own way and time, foreshadowing the pre¬ 
occupations of ours. 

The problem is, as we all know, that increasing 
mechanization and urbanization has given us a 
varied, sprawling and de-personalized sort of 
civilization with almost every conceivable con¬ 
trast and conflict in it between old ways and new, 
and this applies to moral values as to the rest. 
It gives us a particularly acute problem in 
arranging the stages of child training so that the 
child discovers what he is and what he is expected 
to be at each stage. As Erickson notes of an 
Indian tribe he studied, the training was con¬ 
sistent. As in many other primitive tribes, 


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1 G. Murphy, An Historical Introduction to Modern Psychology, p. 295. 

2 E. H Erickson, Childhood and Society, p. 237. 






28 


THE NEW EH A 


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IPSDEN, OXON. Phone Checkendon 221 

RESIDENTIAL WEEK-END COURSES 

Getting One’s Own Way 

The importance and limitations of an 
egocentric approach 
J. Norman Glaister 

Experimental Music Group 

Kathleen Russell 

The Logic of Irrationality 

Harold Walsby 

World Understanding and World 
Government 

Joint Conference with Friends of the Future 
Glynn Faithfull and others 

MAR. 13-16 Religion and'or Psychology 

Joint Conference with Personalists 

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infants and young children were given no rigid 
training, were by our standards indulged and 
encouraged to be individualists. ‘There is no 
condemnation of infantile habits while the child 
is developing that system of communication 
between self and body and self and kin on which 
the infantile ego is based’. 1 When strong in body 
and sure in self, he is then subjected to a tradition 
of relentless shaming focussed on his public and 
social behaviour which shows him clearly what is 
expected of a young adult of his tribe. Our own 
system is in a sense the reverse of this. We have 
gone in for, and still adhere to in large measure, 
a rigorous system of infant training based on 
control of organic and physical behaviour, 
establishing guilt feelings and stressing early the 
importance of right and wrong, good and bad. 
But later, at adolescence, our adult guidance 
becomes relatively ineffective. The youth is 
exposed as it were to the full blast of the con¬ 
tradictions and variations of our complex culture 
and is expected to sort it out for himself and cope 


February 1953 

with problems which indeed baffle us as adults. 
Our guidance at this stage wavers between (a) 
suggesting that he shut his eyes to much that is 
going on and continue as if he were still a child; 
(b) urging him to be independent and individu¬ 
alist and make his choice among the many norms 
offered to him, as if indeed he were already 
grown up. This is not very consistent. It has 
been well said that in our culture adolescence is a 
sort of no-man’s land between childhood and the 
adult stage and no youth can be blamed for 
having difficulty in hnding out what he is in this 
stage, because we do not know. Some parents 
and teachers, indeed, act as if the youths in their 
care could be popped into a sort of moral 
refrigerator for the duration of this period. 

What then should we do ? I am afraid there 
is no easy answer. But this recent work certainly 
endorses some of the main emphases in the 
progressive education movement: on the one 
hand that we should let up on early childhood, 
give the young child root room, help him to come 
to terms with the world of childhood in his own 
time and way, not turn questions of expediency 
into questions of morality, control him without 
blatant assertion of adult authority, encourage 
activity and interest: on the other hand, when it 
comes to adolescence, that we should at any rate 
not close our eyes to the complexity and difficulty 
of the problems which face young people then 
and help them as far as we can by frank discussion 
and sympathetic treatment. 

In general we can agree with Erickson 'that 
only a gradually accruing sense of identity, based 
on the experience of social health and cultural 
solidarity at the end of each major childhood 
crisis, promises that periodical balance in human 
life which — in integration of the ego stages — 
makes for a sense of humanity. But wherever 
this sense is lost, wherever integrity yields to 
despair and disgust, wherever generativity yields 
to stagnation, intimacy to isolation, and identity 
to diffusion, an array of associated infantile fears 
are apt to become mobilized. For the superego is 
the internalization of the external inequality of 
parent and child; and only an ego identity safely 
anchored in the “patrimony” of a cultural identity 
can balance the superego in order to produce a 
workable equilibrium.’ Here, then, is a con¬ 
temporary psychologist's restatement of the 
problem which concerned both Rousseau and 
Dewey. 


FEB. 13-16 

FEB. 20-23 

FEB. 27- 
MAR. 2 

MAR. 6-9 


* E. H. Erick&on, Childhood and Society, p. 138. 








AN EXPERIMENT IN EDUCATION IN INDIA 

V. N. Sharma, Director, Children's Garden School, Madras, India 


M y wife and I are connected with a new 
movement in India to build the child’s 
education upon his Indian tradition and 
heritage and at the same time to utilize the rich 
experience which the great educators from 
Europe, like Froebel, Pestalozzi, Montessori and 
Paul Geheeb, gave to us. 

India is known throughout the world as an 
ancient centre of human culture and civilization. 
It was in the forest universities and in the en¬ 
chanting landscapes on the banks of the great 
rivers that Indian teachers taught the elements 
of human knowledge, the unity of the individual 
with that cosmic individuality known in Indian 
literature as the Brahman. Their philosophy and 
thought is expressed in the immortal Vedas and 
Upanishads. 

Centuries passed, dynasties came and went; 
but this stream of Indian culture and thought 
lived, withstanding all troubles and turmoils. 
But thunder and darkness came as India passed 
into the eighteenth century. Foreign rulers 
who could not understand the sensitive nature of 
the people tried to thrust on them their own 
pattern of education and thought. 

However, great leaders, especially teachers, 
knew that co-operation with these forces without 
a steady background of their own culture and 
genius would lead nowhere. Tagore in the North 
set a great example as the leader of Modern India 
by taking inspiration from the past. The great 
teacher Swami Sradananda built a modern forest 
university on the banks of the River Ganges in 
the Himalayas for a similar purpose. Mahatma 
Gandhi sounded a trumpet call to the sleeping 
people: Behold the rich truth you possess in your 
own hearts and bring it out in its living form for 
the good and welfare of your countrymen, poor 
and rich, low and high ! 

Indian education, from times immemorial, en¬ 
deavoured to spread the message of human 
freedom, making the educator—in the words of 
Tagore—use his mind without fear, holding his 
head high, striving always to move towards 
perfection. This means, in other words, a 
Himalayan courage to seek the knowledge for 
which we are born and brought up in this world. 
The educational system, patronized and con¬ 
trolled by an alien rule which did not understand 


this sensitive feeling and immortal vision of the 
Indian soul, could not uphold the genius of 
India, allowing the Indian child to follow its 
own path of understanding, the purpose for 
which he was born. Any institution and any 
individual that tried to follow the ancient paths 
of India was looked on as a disloyal citizen and a 
disturbing element. 

My wife and I came back from Europe, having 
gained first-hand knowledge and experience from 
progressive educational institutions and their 
famous leaders. In particular we were influenced 
by Paul Geheeb, at whose feet we had the honour 
to sit and listen to his mature experience, and we 
enjoyed the privilege of working as his colleagues 
for several years in the famous Odenwaldschule 
in Germany and later on in Switzerland when he 
had to migrate to seek asylum to follow up his 
work. We dreamed of building up an educational 
community based on the traditional culture of 
the past of India and at the same time utilizing 
the rich experience we had gained from Paul 
Geheeb. We had no money with which to start 
this task, and few friends who could appreciate 
our ideas and plans as I had been away from my 
homeland in search of new knowledge for more 
than seven years. 

We sought humbly to make the following ideals 
our background principles to suit the modern 
times: 

( 1 ) We welcome children of all races, languages, 
religions, classes and ca.stes. All children are 
equally loved and treated by us and no child is 
compelled to do anything against his or her 
creed. In the matter of religious study we 
encourage neither a religious class nor a cult 
which emphasizes a particular faith and a par¬ 
ticular creed which might bring disharmony and 
misunderstanding between the children of God. 

(2) To us the best way of teaching religion to 
a child is through the atmosphere of the school 
life, that is to respect and love others, young and 
old, and to be just and truthful in every task in 
which we are engaged, and through the personal 
example of the teacher. 

( 3 ) The school will strive to maintain the 
intimate atmosphere of a good home, trying to 
fulfil its ideal of a children’s garden in the real 
educational sense, where the older ones—the 


29 





30 


THE NEW ERA 


teachers are the careful gardeners of the most 
delicate plants — the little ones. The children in 
this garden are encouraged to move freely and 
fearlessly among their elder brothers — the 
teachers — like members of one family. In this 
connection the school keeps two aims in view; 
firstly to develop the child as an individual, 
drawing out all the best and highest it has in 
itself; and secondly to educate and train the 
child as a member of the community, sharing the 
life with others and helping his comrades, as a 
preparation for wider and fuller service in the 
world. 

We started the school purely as a Kindergarten 
on the 7th September, 1937, in the newly-built 
garden colony where, fortunately, we found 
accommodation. Swami Saswathananda, the 
President of the Ramakrishna Mission in Madras, 
took a personal interest in our work on our 
return to India and he came forward to bless our 
venture in a public ceremony to which a number 
of friends, mostly educationists, were invited. 
All these friends assured us all possible encourage- 
men and interest in our work. 

During the first year, however, the response 
from the parents was not encouraging and by the 
time of the summer holidays of 1938 we broke up 
with only fourteen children on the rolls. During 
the second year things improved a little; the 
parents began to understand what we were 
aiming at in this school in South India. The 
numbers increased to forty-nine; and the big 
problem of providing accommodation for the 
growing number had to be faced. Along with this 
there came a request from many parents that we 
should start a boarding school. As a consequence 
we opened a hostel as a home for children whose 
parents were away in many remote parts of 
India and who required a real home atmosphere 
for their inner and outer development. But the 
uphill task in this infant stage was to convince 
the Government, and particularly the Directorate 
of Public Instruction in Madras, of the necessity 
for a school of this special type. The rules 
framed by the Government did not contemplate 
such a school since we wanted to begin nursery 
education from the child’s second year. A number 
of objections were raised by the Government, who 
doubted the necessity for a school for children of 
so young an age. Ultimately, however, the 
Directorate was satisfied and allowed us to carry 
on our work as an experimental school, giving 


February 1953 

us full freedom to implement such experi¬ 
ments as we felt would help the child in his 
development. 

As the years passed, our responsibilities grew 
for the parents of the children who passed through 
our Kindergarten stage wished them to continue 
their education with us. So we had to start a new 
department providing education up to the age of 
fourteen. This meant more accommodation, 
more teachers, and more helpers. The work is 
individual and children are grouped in small 
numbers according to their intellectual attainment 
and their physical strength. By the time we 
closed our school year in 1946-47 we had 162 
children between the ages of two and seven (in 
nine groups) in the Kindergarten department, 
and 384 children between the ages of seven and 
fourteen (in eighteen groups) in the School, with 
a teaching staff of fifteen for the Kindergarten 
department and twenty-five in the School depart¬ 
ment. Children had come from different parts of 
India, speaking different languages, and instruc¬ 
tion had to be given, especially in all intellectual 
subjects, in their own mother tongue. That 
meant that we had to provide the languages 
Tamil, Telugu, Kanarese and Malayalam, current 
in South India, as well as Hindi, Marathi and 
Gujarathi, the languages spoken in North India. 

Then we found the need to train a number of 
young men and women who could work in the 
spirit of our ideals; for it was hard to find teachers 
who could adjust themselves harmoniously to 
our work. So in 1947, with the help of the 
Government, we started a Training Institute, the 
first of its kind in India, to provide training for 
Kindergarten teachers. 

Then came a phase of new activity. The 
mothers of our children who lived in the neigh¬ 
bourhood of the school, and who wished to 
refresh their knowledge and understanding by 
taking up special courses in language and culture, 
asked us to open a section for the educational 
training of mothers. Other elderly women joined 
these classes, taking advantage of the new 
facilities offered to them. The work was not 
stopped here. Another branch of women’s work 
sprang up under the name of Stri Seva Mandir, 
for we found a great demand from poor and 
helpless women for full primary education for 
which they had had no facilities in their childhood 
and which they desired to complete, even though 
they happened to be as old as thirty, forty and, 


February 1953 an experiment in 

in some cases, fifty. Along with formal education 
they wanted some technical training such as 
cloth-printing, dressmaking, embroidery and 
domestic science. In this connection I must 
mention a great lady who is humble in her 
demands and silent in her day-to-day work 
Srimati Sundaramma, who took up this responsi¬ 
bility and stood with us in all our difficulties, 
carrying on the work with great success since it 
was started in 1948. 

Our work has not stopped here. Like the 
famous Banyan tree of India whose branches and 
roots are ever-expanding to give shade and shelter 
in all times of the year to all that come to its 
shade, the Children’s Garden School is not 
satisfied with its present work. It tries to spread 
its message of human education and the educa¬ 
tion of mankind to all types of persons, young 
and old, men and women, that come to it for 
education as well as for re-education. The 
Children’s Garden School has started new 
branches for children who cannot come to us be¬ 
cause of the distance. There is more demand 
for such schools outside Madras city and now we 
are doing all we can to start such schools in 
various parts of South India. 

The school, in all its various departments, 
Kindergarten, Middle School, Training Institute 
for young teachers, mothers’ classes, women’s 
educational courses, hums from morning till 
evening with innumerable activities; not only 
formal education but also a number of extra¬ 
curricular subjects to make the young and old, 
boys and girls, men and women, happy and eager 
. to experience that kind of human education 
which can make them all rich, physically and 
emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. All 
things are taken easily and there is no examination 
or detention for any child. Each can take such 
subjects as he needs to study, and work at them 
in peace and at his own speed. Hindus, Muslims, 
Christians, Buddhists, members of every caste, 
creed, sex and class, live here as a happy family. 
No one is aware that he or she belongs to this 
creed, or that class, or that sex. The religious 
festivals and feasts of all communities are 
celebrated with reverence and honour. Language 
is no barrier at all in this miniature world of 
worlds; there is a human language which is 
spoken, without words and in silence, with 
respect and consideration towards each and every 
one. No one knows who is rich, who is poor, who 


EDUCATION IN INDIA 31 

belongs to the highest caste or who belongs to 
the lowest, untouchable caste. Teachers here are 
the elder brothers and sisters of the younger 
ones, always willing to attend to the needs and 
wishes of the children entrusted to their care and 
trust. So the children regard their teachers with 
all reverence and respect, loving them and 
working hand-in-hand with them. 

Not everything I describe and paint is perfect 
yet. There are innumerable difficulties in building 
up this world for the children of India. There 
have been times when were desperate, helpless 
and despondent. The Great War disturbed our 
peace and tested our strength and courage. We 
had to put up with the limited space which was 
not an ideal one for the expansion of our activities. 
Critical minds from the outer world told us that 
things were not as they ought to be. Yet we have 
never moved away from the path we have chosen 
in service to the child of India. We found our 
peace and happiness in being with the children 
and working with them. This alone gave us 
courage and strength to move forward and see 
only the illumination of the sun, even on the 
dark days when the sun was not visible. We did 
not make much fuss about our weaknesses, our 
imperfections; these are our friends and guide our 
path, for they are constantly burnt in that fire of 
knowledge and understanding which we, both 
children and elders, kindle from day to day. 
Mysterious is the Divine power and Divine light ! 
It has uplifted us from our worries and sorrows, 
reminding us that we should not be satisfied with 
the things that we have achieved and pointing 
us forward and forward from the Lnreal to the 
Real, from the Darkness to Light, and from the 
Death to Immortality. 


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SOME CONFUSIONS OF MR. BANTOCK 

James Hemming 


T his is a curious book. Mr. Bantock moves 
about enthusiastically in the jungle he 
creates from his ideas of other people's ideas. 
He scatters a wake of criticisms and quotations 
as he goes, apparently impervious to the fact that 
neither his quotations nor his criticisms 'add up’. 
Just when you think he has disappeared for good 
into the fog of his own confusion, he comes 
running back to the spot from which he started, 
puffing sedulously, and clearly under the im¬ 
pression that he has covered a great deal of 
ground. He behaves in this way time and time 
again without ever formulating his case. This 
way of writing a book permits him to be extremely 
discursive; it also permits him to be all things to 
all men -especially those who are looking for an 
excuse to accept their lack of thought as thought. 

Short of writing a book of equal length it would 
be quite impossible to deal with all the confusions 
and inconsistencies that crop up in Freedom and 
Authority itt Education} However, some attempt 
must be made to deal with some of the more 
blatant of them. First: these words, Authority 
and Freedom. Mr. Bantock is very ready to 
admonish all and sundry to avoid looseness in 
language. However, he never makes it plain in 
which ways he is using these two extremely 
abstract nouns. Authority in education can mean 
the authority of content (facts are facts); or the 
authority of goals (examinations must be passed); 
the authority of centralized administration (as 
existing in many parts of the world); the authority 
of function (teachers have special responsibilities); 
the authority of status (teachers have the right 
to command); the authority of social necessity 
(an educational system must be in tune with the 
society in which it exists); the authority of group 
life (we have to live together decently); the 
authority of the culture (human and cultural 
standards must be maintained); the authority of 
common purpose (we seek to achieve our aims 
together) ; and the authority of absolute values 
(school life must accord with the Christian dogma), 
to name only the more obvious kinds of authority 
relevant to education. Which forms of authority 
Mr. Bantock accepts and which he rejects is never 
made clear. Every sort of education—other than 

• htffdom and Authority in Education , by G. H. Bantock (Faber, 18/-). 
S<*e abo Kenneth BameV review, New b.ta, November, 1952, and A. K. C. 
Ottaway, January, 1953. 


the lunatic fringe, which we can ignore — has its 
mode of authority. The vital question is not 
‘authority or not ?’ but ‘which forms of 
authority ?'. The book gives such a partial 
answer as to be no answer at all. One is left 
wondering exactly where Mr. Bantock stands. 

What Mr. Bantock means by ‘Freedom’ is also 
obscure. Freedom must always operate within 
limits. Absolute freedom means absolute un¬ 
relatedness and, therefore, absolute isolation — 
death in fact. No system of education is so 
restricted that it denies all self-determination in 
action to the child; no system so unstructured 
that no limits are imposed on private impulse. 
Modern education aims neither at the school 
where teachers are authoritarian and the children 
subservient; nor that where children are authori¬ 
tarian and teachers subservient. It seeks to 
establish a community in which authority is 
directly related to the actual functional responsi¬ 
bilities of those who bear them and in which the 
actions of all are limited by the common needs 
and common purposes of the community. Within 
the limits of that framework, individuality is 
encouraged to the full, both because it is valued 
in itself and because, by fostering the variety of 
persons within the community, the community 
becomes enriched, thereby offering a better en¬ 
vironment for the growth of individuality. Mr. 
Bantock does not appear to understand this 
democratic pattern of freedom. He holds that 
children become inflated if they are called upon 
to share in common responsibilities; and that 
regular participation in choice (any level of choice 
presumably) is too much for them to bear. It was 
John Dewey's view that freedom includes ‘the 
right to have our desires and choices included as 
factors in events’ [my italics]. Mr. Bantock 
appears to wish to exclude children from that 
right: that is to exclude them from education in 
the use of choice and the practice of co-operation, 
which means, as the alternative, to bring them up 
with spoon-fed minds. As F2rich Fromm has 
shown, such persons, not knowing how to use 
freedom, will both fear it and refuse to accept the 
responsibilities that go with it. 

Our struggling attempts to follow Mr. Bantock's 
thinking are further bogged down by his selection 
of Matthew Arnold, Cardinal Newman and I). H. 


32 


February 1953 some confusions 

Lawrence as models from whom to gain a depend¬ 
able educational philosophy for the modern world. 
These writers are, of course, well worth study¬ 
ing for their forceful and stimulating ideas, but 
to imply that one can abstract from the sum total 
of their approaches a sort of common denominator 
of essential educational thought, supremely able 
to bring clarity to our modern muddles, is to 
strain the virtue of these three fascinating per¬ 
sonalities too far. In this matter of freedom for 
instance, each believes in freedom, but each 
imposes very different limits on freedom. Arnold 
was a free-thinking deist. To Arnold a free man 
was a person who had become well-formed by 
contact with the best in nature and art. 

We cannQt kindle when we will 
t The fire that in the heart resides, 
he spirit bloweth and is still, 

In mystery our soul abides: 

But tasks in hours of insight willed 

Can be through hours of gloom fulfilled. 

Cardinal Newman’s concept of human freedom 
was much more precisely limited. Newman re¬ 
garded religious dogma as the only logical basis 
for human life. That sets up a limit to freedom 
of thought and action more rigid than any 
accepted by Arnold, or by Lawrence. Newman 
was also very conscious of ignorance as another 
limit to freedom (an aspect of freedom which 
Dewey emphasizes in Human Nature and Conduct 
and elsewhere). In addition Newman also clearly 
regarded social obligation as a third major limit. 

In complete contrast to both Arnold and 
Newman, D. H. Lawrence believed freedom to lie 
in the capacity to live by unclouded impulse. He 
is at one with Arnold in deploring the 'heads o’er 
taxed’ and 'palsied hearts’ of modern man, but 
shows no accord with Arnold’s respect for the 
intellect. 

Now freedom, as I have already remarked, is 
only to be understood in terms of the limits upon 
it. Arnold, Newman, Lawrence, and, one assumes, 
Mr. Bantock too, all impose different limits upon 
it. Then what is the freedom that this book 
purports to be about ? We are nowhere told. At 
times it appears to mean self-assertion, at times 
self-determination, at other times again it means 
lack of order, and so on. Bantock provides us no 
signpost in a wilderness of possibilities. 

Within the first three chapters of the book 
another fundamental confusion emerges. Mr. 


OF MR. BANTOCK 33 

Bantock detests planners. ‘Any plan’, he tells us 
on page 32, ‘implies the imposition of something 
dead—because abstract and preconceived—on the 
living organism.’ He rejects John Dewey and 
Karl Mannheim largely because they dare to 
su £f 5 es t that education should be so planned that 
it prepares children for participation in a demo¬ 
cratic community. But on the very first page of 
chapter one we are told that we live in an era of 
rapid change. Now you can certainly avoid 
planning if you live in a static world; or you can 
avoid planning in a changing world and wait until 
change overwhelms you. What you cannot do 
is to save your culture in a changing world by 
refusing to plan in terms of the changes going on. 
However, even at the moment when one is 
beginning to accord to Mr. Bantock the sympathy 
due to a twentieth-century Canute, he turns round 
on himself and, in chapter three, having pre¬ 
sumably forgotten his strictures of chapter two, 
advocates ‘rational forethought and control’ in 
education. What is ‘planning’ other than ‘rational 
forethought and control’ ? And how can fore¬ 
thought be rational if it omits to include full 
cognisance of the sort of society in which the 
adult must play his part ? 

Another muddle in Mr. Bantock’s mind appears 
when he strives to show that all education that 
has a social objective distorts individual per¬ 
sonality (even though Newman, one of Mr. 
Bantock’s models, wrote: ‘If then a practical end 
must be assigned to a university course, I say it 
is that of training good members of society’ 1 ). 
We all know that socially-directed education can 
be used deliberately to condition children to fit 
without complaint into a totalitarian society. To 
banish all types of social preparation from demo¬ 
cratic education on that account is, however, as 
illogical as to exclude mathematics from the 
syllabus of schools because totalitarian regimes 
train mathematicians. By turning his back on 
education for democracy Mr. Bantock ignores the 
important evidence that individuality can grow 
only in a social situation in which the individual 
feels involved and at home. 1 o skimp social 
education in the modern world—where small 
intimate, self-educating communities are rare—is 
to condemn many children to isolation for life. 
Professor Mannheim was one of the first to stress 
this—to show that personal individuation and 
social integration interact to the benefit of each 

i The Idea of a University. 







THE NEW EH A 


34 

other in a democracy. Let it be noted that 
democracy is the only form of social organization 
which thrives on diversity and therefore seeks to 
foster personal differentiation. It follows that the 
schools in a democracy need to work out for 
themselves an appropriate way of life planned to 
prepare children for responsible participation in 
a democratic society. Such planning, far from 
being a threat to our cultural values, is a condition 
of their survival. Culture draws its vitality neither 
from coerced nor from isolated persons, but from 
free men conscious of involvement with others. 

Another inconsistency that runs right through 
the book leaves one helpless to discover Mr. 
Bantock's point of view on the role of academic 
education in general and the relationship between 
intellectual and emotional education in particular 
— educational issues that are of considerable im¬ 
portance to-day. The modern point of view on 
these matters is clear, even though it is only very 
tardily being applied in practice. It is that facts 
taught should be relevant to the child's experi¬ 
ence and level of development, that aesthetic 
education should be directed to the gradual 
development of the child’s own values, that 
subjects should be so taught that the right 
attitude towards knowledge develops along with 
mastery of content, and that intellectual and 
emotional activity should be promoted together 
in school work by stimulating the child’s interest 
and prompting his own thought in acquiring 
what Matthew Arnold called ‘vital knowledge'. 

At times Mr. Bantock appears to support this 
|>oint of view, at times he sweeps it aside, and at 
times so flounders about that it is impossible to 
know where he is heading. Let us follow his 
Protean passage through the chapters. Early in 
the book, he appears to be with the traditional¬ 
ists. He opposes the idea of deliberately building 
into the curriculum a content of general education 
as a background to specialist knowledge; he 
deprecates ‘a too great contempt for facts as 
such’ in modern education; he condemns (page G6) 
a theory of the nature of man which values the 
spontaneous rather than the premeditated, the 
impulse rather than the conscious action, the 
emotional rather than the ratiocinative’. (This 
statement should be especially considered against 
what he has to say on D. H. Lawrence.) A little 
later, in the chapter on Matthew Arnold, he slips 
from the traditional to the progressive outlook by 
quoting with approval Arnold’s ‘advanced’ views: 


February 1953 

‘But governing the teacher's whole design of 
instruction . . . should be the aim of calling 
forth, by some means or other, in every pupil 
a sense of pleasurable activity and creation; he 
should resist being made a mere ladder with 
information' (page 97). 

(Notice the * pleasurable', and the importance 
given to the child’s feeling right.) 

Cardinal Newman, to whom we are introduced 
in the next chapter, modifled his educational 
thinking considerably in the course of his life. 
His matured views however, ably substantiated 
by Mr. Bantock's quotations, were: 

1. That the human being is developing through¬ 
out life. 

2 . That religious dogma is supreme. 

3. That an intelligent man should have some 
contact with the whole field of knowledge. 

1. That enlargement of mind ‘consists, not 
merely in the passive reception into the 
mind of a number of ideas hitherto unknown 
to it, but in the mind’s energetic and simul¬ 
taneous action upon and towards and among 
those new ideas, which are rushing in upon 
it’ (page 128). 

5. That the personal relationship between 
teacher and student is of fundamental im¬ 
portance in education: ‘An academic system 
without the personal influence of teachers 
upon pupils is an arctic winter; it will create 
an ice-bound, petrified, cast iron University, 
and nothing else’ (page 131). 

There are certain inconsistencies here. For 
example, Cardinal Newman valued the know¬ 
ledge which was itself the product of the scientific 
doubt he deprecated. Nevertheless, a clear 
pattern emerges: education should be liberal, 
producing in due season a sensitive and growing 
mind, well stored with knowledge and ideas and 
able to use them in productive thought. The 
approach is firmly intellectual but implies pleasure 
in the activities of the mind and stresses personal 
relationships. Such an approach requires a back¬ 
ing of general education and a cultivation of the 
capacity to think clearly which some of Mr. 
Bantock's early assertions preclude. 

W hile we are still battling to discover what Mr. 
Bantock’s views really are, we find ourselves 
required to knit I). H. Lawrence into what has 
already become a complicated jumble of values. 
Lawrence would have no truck whatever with the 
intellect. He begged man to 'turn again to the 


February 1953 • some confusions 

dark gods, which are the dark promptings and 
passion-motives inside you’. He detested ‘mind- 
knowledge’. His ideal is: living, spontaneous 
individuality in every man and woman’. The 
ideal educational system to help achieve this 
objective will: 

1 . Leave the majority of mankind illiterate so 
that they may live from their ‘dark prompt¬ 
ings’, untroubled by knowledge. ‘The great 
mass of humanity should never learn to 
read and write — never’ (page 178). 

2 . Hammer home the 3 R’s in the good old- 
fashioned way. 

3. Eschew all nonsense about personal relations: 
‘The personal element, personal supervision 
is of no moment’ (page 179). 

4. Teach nothing but the 3 R’s; let the child 
absorb what else he needs by following the 
undistorted promptings of his solar plexus: 
‘Let us have a bit of solid, hard, tidy work. 
And for the rest, leave the children alone 
(page 175). 

5 . Not bother about class sizes since the only 
schooling necessary is rigid instruction in 
short concentrated periods. 

There is of course pertinency mixed with the 
madness in all that. This strange, tormented, 
mother-fixated genius has a wealth of wild sense 
in all he writes. He has a pagan, primitive 
approach to our concrete, gadget-ridden, restless, 
spiritually-starved community. He is an antidote 
to excessive intellectualism. What is amazing is 
that Mr. Bantock, who has up to this point in the 
book been veering strongly if erratically towards 
traditional teaching of subjects and facts, 
suddenly devotes the longest chapter in the book 
to Lawrence’s educational views. Perhaps most 
incredible of all, he juxtaposes Lawrence, who 
raved against ‘ideas’, to Newman whose principal 
educational work is The Idea of a University. 
Mr. Bantock certainly attempts to dodge the 
come-back by writing at the end of the chapter: 
‘of course, I do not put Lawrence forward as 
providing a programme . We are, at the end 
of much reading, still completely in the dark 
about Mr. Bantock’s views on the right balance 
of emotional and intellectual education. In a 
community which is losing through mental ill- 
health about £100,000,000 1 annually in cash value 
alone, quite apart from the loss in human happi- 

l See Dr. J. D. Sutherland’s estimate in The British Journal of Medical 
Psychology, Sept., 1952 p. 6. 


OF MR. BANTOCK 35 

ness and cultural vitality, this is net an un¬ 
important question. Let it be noted that most 
of these maladjusted people, moreover, are the 
products not of ‘progressive’ education but of a 
traditional, authoritarian, academic system which, 
even at the very present, widely prevails. 

Mr. Bantock appears to be quite unaware of his 
own inconsistencies. Instead of a long overdue 
clarification in the last chapter, we get more 
confusion. No doubt the point he seeks to make is 
that education must be directed to a purpose that 
transcends the merely utilitarian and should be 
lit by a vision that includes all that is best in 
human experience. There ‘progressive’ educa¬ 
tionists are completely with him. They have been 
pleading for years for this broadening of purpose 
and vision in the face of a narrow subject-bound 
curriculum that has been so geared to academic 
examinations that it has tended to produce 
standardized spoon-fed minds rather than culti¬ 
vated individuals. However, Mr. Bantock does 
not make even this point because, if the disparate 
forms of authority and educational purpose 
promulgated by Arnold, Newman and Lawrence 
are all equally valid then, presumably, our educa¬ 
tional problems will be solved—according to Mr. 
Bantock—if every administrator, head teacher 
and teacher imposes on the child his particular 
pattern of authority and purpose. Certainly the 
personal values of educators are needed in edu¬ 
cation. But if you exclude common social values 
from your authority and purpose in education, 
as Mr. Bantock seeks to do, then the result is 
chaos; society loses its common elements of 
thought and feeling and the basis for the survival 
of culture disappears. It is, indeed, such a chaos 
which we are now enduring and the cure of it is 
not less education in preparation for a democratic 
society but more. 

The way to go is forward not back. At present, 
our society is transforming itself from a 
mechanical political democracy, governed by an 
aristocracy of birth and privilege, into a partici¬ 
pant democracy governed by an aristocracy of 
leadership created in every age for that age by 
the operation of equality of opportunity in edu¬ 
cation. The growing pains are uncomfortable. 
Extremists both of the rush-forward and hurry- 
back variety inevitably exist. It is a time when 
men must be both determined and patient. \ et 
the way ahead is clear enough as is demonstrated 
whenever devolution of authority and the true 








THE NEW ERA 


3fi 

democratic spirit come together, whether in a 
school, a factory, a farm, a mine, a ship or else¬ 
where. The authority they have in common is 
reverence for life (a term which Lawrence and 
Schweitzer share) and their purpose is a re¬ 
integrated self-supporting, productive community. 

Authority as authority becomes domination 
and is destructive of individuality; linked to 
function and accepted purpose, authority becomes 
a powerful formative influence. Democracy is the 
only framework which, at this stage in history, 
can make a synthesis by uniting supra-personal 
purpose and authority with personal responsi¬ 
bility and freedom. Mr. Bantock is vague and 
inconsistent because he fails to understand this. 
His book is an ‘against’ book because he has yet 
only a hazy idea of what to be 'for*. So, in¬ 
evitably, no synthesis emerges after all from the 
last chapter. 

Mr. Bantock's last word of all is to plead with 
us to ‘recapture a sense of purpose' in education, 
and to make it a high purpose so that those 
involved in its service may get a true perspective 
of themselves instead of becoming lost in the 
cul-de-sac of self-conceit. To which we all 
devoutly say, amen. Many of us have been 
pleading that way for years. Where Mr. Bantock 
floors you is that he implies that a sense of 
purpose is to be recaptured by sending our as 
yet only-slightly-transformed educational system 
back to the rigours of undemocratic authori- 


February 1953 

tarianism which themselves produced the death 
of high purpose by remaining too long rigid in the 
face of change. In one place or another the 
author heaps scorn on democracy in school life, 
on general education, projects, activity methods, 
and the application of psychology to education; 
he regrets the decline in corporal punishment, and 
wants a tougher attitude in teaching the 3 R's, 
and an end of this nonsense of trying to improve 
awareness and understanding by the synthesis of 
kindred subject fields; he has not one word to 
say about the influence of examinations and 
excessively high specialist standards on the indi¬ 
vidual development of adolescents; large classes 
seem to worry him little, and the educational 
needs of the less-able academically pass him by. 
If we add together all Mr. Bantock includes in 
his book (remarkably discordant with itself) and 
the number of equally remarkable omissions, we 
get a picture of a man trying to stand on both 
sides of the fence at once while simultaneously 
sitting on the fence in between and, furthermore, 
wholly oblivious to his unstable position because 
he is gazing at the stars through a glass smoky 
with his private prejudices. It is good to gaze at 
the stars; education is too pedestrian, too 
mechanical, too easily satisfied with poor cultural 
standards. But these weaknesses will not be 
cured by inconsistency and confusion but by 
clarity of thought and integration of facts and 
aims. 


ENGLISH NEW EDUCATION FELLOWSHIP 


SECRETARY’S 

1952 has been an important year in the history 
of the E. N.E.F., many of whose members have 
been active in a number of fields. The office has 
been constantly sustained by a hard-working 
( ouncil. I here are solid reasons for expressing 
gratitude to the elected and co-opted members of 
that body and its sub-committees for their en¬ 
thusiastic work for the Section's welfare. I should 
like also to record my appreciation of the devoted 
work of the office staff. 

Education Committee 

The Education Committee has once again pro¬ 
vided the driving force required to implement the 
general policy approved by the Council. It was 
honoured by the invitation extended to its 
( hairman, Mr. James Hemming, to visit South 
Africa to lecture to the N.E.F. there. It has con¬ 
tinued its enquiry into educational standards, 


REPORT, 1952 

calling from time to time on the services of non¬ 
committee members expert in different branches 
of education. The results of these meetings will 
be made public in a special number of The New 
Era to be published in the Spring, and in sub¬ 
sequent articles in that magazine. There is reason 
to believe that the publication of these papers will 
coincide with, or perhaps slightly anticipate, a 
national enquiry into standards in education. 

As forecast in the 1951 Report, a special In¬ 
dustrial number of The New Era appeared in May. 
It met with widespread approval, and helped 
bring our work to the notice of industrialists. 

The December issue of The New Era contained 
the working papers and Agenda prepared by an 
ad hoc committee of the linglish Section which 
was called together, under the Chairmanship of 
Mr. Ben Morris, to answer a request from Unesco 
to International N.E.F. Headquarters for help in 


ENGLISH NEW EDUCATION FELLOWSHIP 


February 1953 

preparing for the 1952 Unesco Regional Con¬ 
ference on Education and the Mental Health of 
Children in Europe. We are additionally indebted 
to Mr. Morris for going to Paris on behalf of the 
Fellowship to give evidence on, and amplify, the 
working papers we had submitted. Lest it be 
thought that membership of such committees is 
confined to persons in the London area, it should 
be said that this committee consisted of members 
coming from as far away as Leicestershire, 
Worcestershire, and Yorkshire, as well as from 
the Home Counties. This same committee also 
discussed the draft Report of the psychiatrist and 
psychologist responsible for the enquiry into 
Attitude Change in Teachers, before the final 
version was submitted to Unesco. Another ad hoc 
committee, again with representation outside the 
Home Counties, has been responsible for steering 
the pilot Case History Project carried out by 
teacher members in widely spaced schools in 
England. The object of this project, adumbrated 
in last year’s Report, was to investigate the 
effects on the intellectual and emotional adjust¬ 
ment of children caused by changes in the 
learning situation and social climate in school. 
A pilot scheme was necessary not only to test the 
adequacy of the research material issued to 
participants, but to give the research worker in 
charge an opportunity of analysing, and drawing 
conclusions from, the replies received. 

The results of this trial have been collated in a 
short but comprehensive report. They show that 
few changes are required in the research material, 
and, in addition to giving valuable information 
about the classroom situation as it affects children, 
they provide a striking picture of the kind of 
problems that worry teachers in their daily con¬ 
tacts with their pupils. The steering committee 
will meet later this week to discuss the next stage 
in this investigation, which it is hoped ultimately 
to launch on an international scale. It is, I think, 
an example of one of the strengths of the E.N.E.F. 
that, thanks to the composition of its member¬ 
ship, it has been able in this case, as in so many 
others, to draw into the investigation many 
teachers not hitherto associated with the Fellow¬ 
ship, thus enriching its own work as well as 
giving the investigation a statistical validity it 
might not have had were it confined to the self- 
selected group which its membership constitutes. 

This is a fitting point at which to pay tribute 
to our good friends on the Council of Education 
Services. Thanks to their support, it has been 
possible for International N.E.F. to finance the 
pilot scheme. We also have received £50 from 
Education Services, to meet the English Section’s 
expenses connected with the investigation, as 
well as an administration grant of £75. Continued 


37 

support on this scale is substantial evidence of 
the goodwill existing between Education Services 
and the E.N.E.F. 

International Work 

Much of what I have already said goes to show 
that the year has once again been marked by the 
active participation of members in the inter¬ 
national work of the Fellowship. I pass now to 
other examples of this. On three occasions 
English Section members have addressed Inter¬ 
national Teas organized jointly by N.E.F. and 
E.N.E.F. Miss D. Aickman spoke of her experi¬ 
ences as Educational Adviser in Malaya; Mr. 
David Jordan gave an account, illustrated by 
excellent slides, of his Australian lecture tour; 
and Mr. Hemming described education as he 
found it in South Africa. The Section has been 
represented at the Austrian Conference organized 
by Professor Fadrus, partly with the intention of 
reviving the Austrian Section of the N.E.F., as 
well as at the German Section Conference at 
Weilburg; and members have also attended the 
Conference of Internationally Minded Schools 
held in Holland last August. Several schools in 
which members serve have supported Kees 
Boeke’s International Plan, whereby schools of 
many countries are linked together in an exchange 
of materials. It has been my privilege to visit 
N.E.F. Sections in Germany, Holland, and 
Scandinavia. On all these occasions there have 
been eager questions about what the English 
Section is doing, a lively interest in its work, and 
a heart-warming sense of the fellowship that 
exists between the national sections. This interest 
and sense of intimacy are further manifested by 
the many visitors from abroad who come to 
1 Park Crescent in search of information about 
English Schools. They owe much to the response 
of E.N.E.F. members to requests for interviews 
and visits. Our Council has been asked by the 
Federal Council of the N.E.F. in Australia to 
organize in England a lecture tour for Dominion 
educators in 1954. Efforts are being made to 
solve the financial difficulties of such a venture. 

Conferences 

Two regional conferences and one national con¬ 
ference were held during the year. The first of 
the regional conferences, the general title of which 
is AIMS AND PREJUDICES IN EDUCATION, 
was a residential conference held at Belstead 
House, Ipswich, during a week-end in March, the 
theme being The Primary-Secondary Transfer. 
The second was a day conference held in Cam¬ 
bridge last October, when the theme was General 
Mathematics in School. Both conferences have 
been fully reported in The New Era ; both were 



HIE NEW ERA 


38 

organized by local members, Headquarters being 
concerned only in arranging for speakers and 
issuing invitations, almost entirely on suggestions 
made locally; both were marked by the presence 
of members representing an almost complete 
cross-section of the educational field; both were 
modestly successful financially, and very success¬ 
ful in arousing local interest in the E.N.E.F. It 
is proposed to continue this series of regional 
conferences in 1953. 

In the summer, our conference held at Coventry 
proved to be an international conference in 
miniature. It was run on the same lines as the 
International Conference held at Chichester in 
1951, and was much enlivened by the presence of 
members from six overseas countries. It was well 
supported, much enjoyed, and exceedingly valu¬ 
able as a preparation for the International Con¬ 
ference to be held in Denmark in August, 1953. 
It has been briefly reported in The New Era\ 
a fuller account under the title ‘Prelude to 
Denmark’ will appear in an early number. 

Branches 

Among our Branches, Cambridge, Derby, 
Leicester, and the London Branch — previously 
known as the Kingsway Branch — have been the 
most active. All have contrived interesting pro¬ 
grammes. On the other hand, St. Albans and 
Torbay Branches have found so little local support 
that they have decided to close down. Our 
Council is most anxious that the hard-working 
officers and committees of Branches which find 
dwindling local support should realize that this 
lack of interest in public meetings is the common 
experience of almost all those organizing educa¬ 
tional meetings in England to-day. Last year’s 
Annual Meeting called for more small meetings 
and conferences. The London Branch has tested 
the demand for these in London, first by holding 
a meeting at the College of Preceptors to enable 
members to meet our new President, Dr. G. B. 
Jeffery, who spoke on Education in West Africa; 
and later, by inaugurating a series of meetings on 
‘Education in Other Countries’. Well-qualified 
speakers have lectured on Denmark and on 
Poland. In all these cases it has been found 
impossible to provide an audience commensurate 
with the occasion. It is evident that a new 
pattern of interest — the informal study group or 
discussion group — is appearing. Our Mid-Bucks, 
group and the North-West London group are 
typical N.E.F. examples. Members are brought 
together in fellowship for an occasion in which all 
can participate. Our Council feel that this kind 
of organization of E.N.E.F. meetings is capable 
of wide extension; that it is a potential attraction 
to new members; that it may have a special value 


Tehruary 1953 

if related to Teacher Training Colleges. The 
member whose suggestion it was that groups 
might be developed round Training Colleges, is 
experimenting with the formation of such a 
group, the College being its focal point. The 
results of this endeavour should soon be apparent, 
and if successful will be made known to all our 
members. During the year it has proved possible 
to visit more Teacher Training Colleges than in 
the past, to lecture to students about the work of 
the E.N.E.F. This visiting has been shared by 
the Officers and Secretary. 

Home and School 

For the extension of our influence a recent 
decision of the Council has a special significance. 
In the 1930’s, when the promotion of parent- 
teacher co-operation began to be a task in itself, 
there was created out of the N.E.F. a new body, 
The Home and School Council, to further the 
formation of Parent-Teacher Associations, and 
to publish educational literature calculated to 
help parents and teachers to a clearer recognition 
of the problems of child development which they 
had respectively, and in conjunction, to handle. 
To-day, the formation of P.T.A.’s needs no, or 
but little, encouragement. It is rapid, almost too 
rapid. The educational guidance of parent and 
teacher, however, grows in importance. New 
knowledge, and new conceptions of the role of 
school and home, teacher and parent, need con¬ 
stant evaluation, explanation, application. From 
the beginning of 1953 this work becomes once 
again the responsibility of the E.N.E.F. at the 
request of the Home and School Council, which 
has ceased to exist. A Home and School sub¬ 
committee of the E.N.E.F. Education Committee 
will guide this work. Among the assets handed 
over to us are office furniture, small stocks of 
literature, and the publication rights of two best¬ 
sellers — Advances in U nderstanding the Child and 
Advances in Understanding the Adolescent. We 
hope also to retain the affiliation of a number of 
P.T.A.’s formerly linked to the Home and School 
Council, and the support of some of its individual 
Associate Members. We inherit no liabilities. 
Amongst the immediate tasks of the new sub¬ 
committee will be the completion of a book, 
planned some time ago, dealing with adults, and 
at present bearing the title Advances in Under¬ 
standing Ourselves. All this opens to us new 
opportunities of service and expansion. 

Finance 

In conclusion, I turn now to finance. In the 
current year, we have once more been fortunate 
in receiving a grant of £250 from the Ministry of 
Education. Our position is still precarious. If 
there is any virtue in living dangerously, we are 


February 1953 English new educ 

certainly a very virtuous organization. We would 
all, I hope, wish to reward virtue. I am pleased 
to say that a method, painless to our members, is 
ready to hand. Here it is—a Form of Agreement 
for a Seven Year Covenant. All you have to do is 
to complete it. The test Covenants which we 
submitted this year to the Chief Inspector of 
Taxes have been accepted, and we have received 
repayment of tax in respect of them. At the 
present rate of taxation, this means that for every 
25s. members pay in subscription, we receive 
from the Inland Revenue £1 2s. Id .—provided it 
is a covenanted subscription, and provided the 
Covenanter pays income tax at the standard rate. 

I would emphasize that this costs the Covenanter 


ATION FELLOWSHIP 39 

nothing, and it nearly doubles the value of his 
subscription. He is only committed to paying 
the covenanted sum for seven years, or until 
death, if that should unhappily occur before the 
seven years are up. 

I believe that 1953 holds great opportunities 
for the E.N.E.F. I trust that members will ensure 
that they are not missed through lack of funds, 
that they will join the ranks of the Covenanters, 
and help to make Coronation Year as memorable 
for the Fellowship as it undoubtedly will be for 
the nation. For it is not the new tasks only that 
face us. Everywhere New Education and its 
ideals are coming under attack. We must be 
strong and vigorous in reply. 


Pioneers of British Industry. 

F. George Kay , F.R.S.A. (Rockliff. 
25/-). 

This book is most opportune. 1953 
will inevitably be a year in which we 
in Britain review our national self- 
consciousness. Where are we now? 
What have we been? What next? 
Nor can this searching for a new 
perspective be a mere casual exercise. 
We are in real need of an informed 
and intelligent reassessment of our¬ 
selves. Furthermore, I suggest that it 
is time we stopped being ashamed of 
the geographical and historical good 
fortune that enabled us to romp ahead 
of the rest of mankind in technical 
advance during the nineteenth cen¬ 
tury. We need to look at our past 
objectively as the background to the 
present. The value of Pioneers of 
British Industry is that it helps us to 
do this by providing in concise form 
the essential material about the lives 
and struggles of those many men of 
inventive enterprise whose unquench¬ 
able determination was at the back of 
the industrial revolution and has kept 
technical progress running fast ever 
since. The book is, one must hasten 
to add, very much more than a 
symposium of potted biographies; its 
many features are happily woven into 
a single thesis, telling of the great 
upsurge of material creativeness with 
a humanity and a wealth of fact that 
bring us fresh insight and under¬ 
standing. We catch, as we read, the 
excitement of watching men advance 
in conquest of their material environ¬ 
ment. Terrible indeed were the im¬ 
mediate social consequences of the 
rapid shattering of culture by tech¬ 
nical change, but ‘like bright metal on 
a sullen ground’ human achievement 
shines through it all—we sense the 
wonder of it; the pathos, too, of those 
who strove without success or died 
unrecognized, like poor Friese Greene, 
the pauper founder of a millionaire 
industry. Mr. Kay captures the 


Book Review 

heroic content of this great, squalid 
age of material achievement. 

A particularly valuable feature of 
this book is that it shows how men 
must ‘lend out their brains to each 
other’ in order ultimately to overcome 
the problems that challenge them. 
The weakness of much biographical 
material is that it focuses the spot¬ 
light of attention so strongly on its 
heroes that we are given the im¬ 
pression that humanity goes forward 
on the sudden bright ideas of a chosen 
few. Mr. Kay avoids this. By the 
breadth of his approach he reveals 
the team-work in all invention. We 
see that a transforming invention 
develops almost organically, attaining 
its mature form from the impact of 
innumerable contributions. This does 
not belittle the achievement of a 
Faraday but shows that even such a 
giant must stand on the shoulders of 
lesser men and depend on others to 
carry through his brilliant innovations 
to the stage of practical usefulness. 

The organic element in invention is 
the better demonstrated by relating 
new discovery to original method both 
through pictures—of which there is 
an excellent selection—and through 
comments in the text. For example, 
Dunlop's invention of the pneumatic 
tyre is set in perspective against the 
age-old problem of haulage. The 
relationship of invention to society’s 
changing needs is also brought out: 
the electric lamp came into being as 
much because the modern world must 
have good lighting as because work 
on vacua and the generation of 
electricity paved the way for the 
inventions of Swan and Edison. 

As educational material, Pioneers of 
British Industry is first class. It is an 
ideal background book for the Sixth 
Form specialist and the teacher in 
training. Our civilization itself is 
to-day in some jeopardy because too 
wide a cleft exists between Science 


and Arts in higher education and also 
because many who take up key 
positions in our society never learn to 
value correctly the industry upon 
which the status and stability of their 
lives ultimately depend. Pioneers of 
British Industry should be widely 
used to help heal these rifts. More 
particularly, the book will find a 
certain welcome with all Social Science 
students, whether following diploma or 
degree courses. One can warmly 
welcome it to politicians also. The 
book is essentially optimistic in flavour; 
one cannot read of so much creativeness 
without feeling heartened about the 
potentialities of our human resources. 
Yet, as Sir Norman Kipping warns in 
his foreword, potentialities will not 
develop unless they have their chance. 
The last century was wildly, brutally 
opportunist. Things boomed, though 
with an indifference to social justice 
no longer tolerable. Things can go on 
booming; we need that they shall. 
But, if they are to do so, our developing 
welfare democracy must plan to give 
innovation plenty of elbow room. 
Officialdom is cautious by nature. 
We have, therefore, to find a way of 
assuring a sufficient element of daring 
in our planned society. 

The whole matter needs very careful 
thought. Mr. Kay’s material informs 
and provokes such thinking. 

James Hemming 


Reviews of the following books have been 
held over through lack of space but will appear 
in the March issue:— 

The Psycho-Analytic Study of the Child 

(Vols. VI and VII) (Imago Publishing Co.) 42s. ea. 
Twins, Dorothy Burlingham 

(Imago Publishing Co.) 35s. 
Studies and Impressions (University of 
London Institute of Education) (Evans Bros.) 15s. 
Good Company, Mary Field 

(Longmans Green) 12s. 6d. 
The Grammar of Music, Hilda Hunter 

(Dennis Dobson) 6s. 
Melody Writing and Analysis, 

Annie Warburton (Longmans Green) 9s. 6d. 
My History of Music, Irene Gass (Evans) 7s. 6d. 
Secondary School Entrance Examinations, 
A. F. Watts, D. A. Pidgeon and A. Yates (Newnes, 
for National Foundation for Educational 
Research) 3s. 6d. 







Directory of Schools 


ABBOTSHOLME SCHOOL 

DERBYSHIRE 

(Postal Address : Rocester, Uttoxeter, Staffs.) 

Headmaster : 

C. ARTHUR HUMPHREY, M.A. (Oxon.) 

Recognized by the Ministry of Education. 

A school for boys of 11 to 18, preparing for 
entrance to the University, and for business or 
professional careers. Practical instruction in 
art and craftmanship is an essential part of the 
curriculum, and walking, cycling, camping and 
other open-air activities are encouraged in 
addition to the usual games. The River Dove 
borders the estate, which includes a 90-acre 
home farm with T.T. herd. 

Several scholarships are offered on the re¬ 
sults of entrance tests held at the end of March. 

Prospectus and details of admission pro¬ 
cedure and entrance scholarships may be 
obtained from the Headmaster. 

• 

DARTINGTON HALL 

TO TNES DEVON 

Headmaster : W. B. CURRY, M.A., B.Sc. 

A co-educational boarding school for 
boys and girls from 7-18 in the centre of 
a 2,000 acre estate engaged in the 
scientific development of rural industries. 
The school gives to Arts and Crafts, 
Dance, Drama and Music the special 
attention customary in progressive 
schools, and combines a modern outlook 
which is non-sectarian and inter¬ 
national with a free and informal 
atmosphere. It aims to establish the 
high intellectual and academic stan¬ 
dards of the best traditional schools. 

Fees: ^210-^260 per annum. 

Scholarships are sometimes available, 
and further information about these 
may be obtained from the Headmaster. 

KILQUHANITY HOUSE 

CASTLE DOUGLAS SCOTLAND 

FOR BOYS AND GIRLS 3-18 YEARS 

Established in 1940, Kilquhanity House 
frankly owes its inception to the work of 

A. S. Neill, who now considers it in the 
direct line of his own school and that of 
Homer Lane. It does not, however, cater 
for problem children. In practice there 
is an attempt to combine the traditional 
thoroughness of Scottish education with 
self-government for the pupils. Activity 
methods are used throughout, and the 
teaching staff is qualified to the standards 
demanded by the Scottish Education 
Department, which inspects the school. 
There is ample opportunity for practice 
in all the creative arts. A small mixed 
farm is a fundamental part — as distinct 
from an adjunct — of the school. T he 
diet is on food reform lines, though chil¬ 
dren do not require to be vegetarian. 

Feu: £150-£180 PER ANNUM 

Htadmarter: J. M. AITKENHEAD, M.A. (Horn.), fcd.B 


BEDALES SCHOOL 

PETERSFIELD HANTS ( Founded 1893 ) 

A Co-educational Boarding School for boys and 
girls from 11^-18. Separate Junior School for 
those from 5-11. Inspected by the Ministry of 
Education. Country estate of 150 acres. Home 
Farm. Education is on modern lines and aims at 
securing the fullest individual development in, 
and through, the community. 

Headmaster : H. B. JACKS, M.A. (Oxon.) 



Wychwood School, Oxford 

RECOGNIZED BY MINISTRY OF EDUCATION. 

Maximum of 80 girls (boarding and day pupils) 
aged 10-18. Small classes, large graduate staff. 
Education in widest sense under unusually 
happy and free conditions. Exceptional health 
record. Elder girls can work for universities, 
can specialize in Music, or take year’s training 
at Wychlea (Domestic Science House). 
Playing fields, bathing pool. 

Principals : Miss MARGARET LEE, M.A. (Oxon.) 

Late University Tutor in English. 

Miss E. M. SNODGRASS, M.A. (Oxon.) 

PINEWOOD, 
AMWELLBURY, HERTS. 

Home school for boys and girls 4 to 14, 
where diet, environment, psychology and teach¬ 
ing methods maintain health and happiness. 

Elix&beth Strachan. Wore 52. 


ST. CATHERINE’S SCHOOL, 
Almondsbury, near BRISTOL. 

Co-Educational Boarding. All Age*. 

400 Feet up, looking on to Channel and Wel*h Hill*. 
Vegetarian Food Reform Diet. 

Mutic, Art, Margaret Morri* Movement, Craft*. 

65 guinea* per term. 

Ralph Cooper, M.A., and Joyce Cooper. 































THE NEW ERA 

IN HOME AND SCHOOL 


THE GOOD INFANT SCHOOL 1 

E. R. Boyce 


I N these papers I cannot hope to give experi¬ 
enced teachers any fresh information. My aim 
is not to instruct but to think aloud with you 
in an attempt to clarify our minds about modern 
methods of teaching in Infant Schools. In the 
process, let us hope that we find some satisfactory 
and sound basis which will justify the work we 
are doing and which will enable us to go forward 
with still greater confidence and faith. 

Do you feel as confused as I do when adminis¬ 
trators and inspectors describe a school as ‘formal 
but good’ ? Can a formal Infant School be ‘good’ 
for children ? And do you have misgivings when 
teachers say that ‘we do activities but we don’t 
let them interfere with the three R’s’ ? Do you 
feel outraged when parents and others sneer at 
'activity schools’ and imply that no good can 
come of them ? Yet are you not cautious when 
young teachers assume that because they ‘do 
activities’, they have no more to learn about 
teaching ? You may even have moments of 
wondering if you are right to believe in humanity 
in school; in freedom; in the all-importance of 
child development. So let us begin by attempting 
to assess, to recognize, the good Infant School. 

I suggest that this recognition comes first 
through the vitality that we feel as soon as we 
approach the building. Vitality means life, liveli¬ 
ness, eagerness. The vitality of the life within a 
good Infant School, is evident already in the 
playground. The washing flaps on the line, a 
child shakes out a duster, someone is scrubbing 
down a table. There are many signs of life even 
on the ashphalt. Growing things flourish, even 
though they may be in boxes. A child runs across 
the playground with that delicious grace of hop, 
skip, twist and the cheerful greeting, ‘ ’ello’. 

Inside the school door, liveliness increases. 
Children are ‘doing the milk’, filling kettles and 
water jugs, calling out to a friend to ‘open the 
door for us’. They are gossiping in the cloak¬ 
room, skipping along the corridors, playing in the 


hall. There seems a good life for children going on. 
They are natural, purposeful and friendly—living 
in a place where they belong. 

The environment of the good school lives too. 
Living suggests movement and change, not merely 
beautifully arranged nature tables, pictures on 
the wall and flowers on the sills. A well-equipped 
school may be a dead place, and is no good to 
children unless they themselves bring the equip¬ 
ment to life by using it for their own ends. There 
are delightful nature tables that have never been 
fingered, messed about or managed by children; 
notices that haven’t been read by children since 
the day they were put up, pictures that are in the 
same place year in and year out; toys that are 
too clean for any but the most diffident handling. 
Everywhere and at all times, one should meet the 
interplay between children and environment. It 
is by way of things which they can change, 
arrange, re-arrange and order that children pro¬ 
vide themselves with learning situations, prob¬ 
lems, solutions, experiments and discoveries. 
If they are to do so, they must be quite sure of 
their teacher’s permission. A generous attitude 
towards their curiosity must be expressed in our 
sympathetic interest in their investigations and 
inventions. Children in a good Infant School 
know that they can approach eagerly, handle and 
use freely. And because they grow and their 
interests change, the living background for 
learning changes and develops too. A static en¬ 
vironment means a formal school. 

Then, the teachers. We recognize their vitality, 
first by their friendly relations with the children, 
their capacity for sharing and their natural 
behaviour; and, secondly, by their preoccupation 


i The substance of lectures given to members of the Nursery School 
sociation, 1952. Miss Boyce will continue this series in the June, 
;tober and December numbers of I he New Era , dealing with the 

The* relation between work and play. How far the Infant School is 
sponsible for the learning and practice of the basic skills. The decline m 
e art of teaching the three R’s to young children. Does the environment 
place the lessons? Should we instruct the young? If so how? What 
n they use? What do they need? An examination of apparatus, 
vices games, individual work. Summary—the good Infant School is .. . 


41 










42 


THE NEW ERA 


March 1953 


with the living instead of the mechanical aspects 
of school life. It is possible to be so engrossed 
in methods of teaching reading and the making 
of apparatus that the enjoyment of sharing books 
with the children and delight in their discoveries 
of life is by-passed altogether. Sharing the ad¬ 
ventures of lively schoolchildren actually gives 
life and buoyancy to their teachers. 

Besides vitality, I suggest that we look for 
quality in the life of Infant Schools. Vitality may 
include quality, which is felt as depth and richness 
of experience; as harmony and stability in 
living; as sincerity and humanity emanating from 
the teachers. It is shown in the children’s ease 
and confidence of movement. This does not mean 
that they walk rather than skip and run, but 
that they move with the degree of physical 
steadiness natural to their level of development. 
It is shown also by their approach to adults, 
knowui and strange; by their assumption that all 
within the school walls are mutually helpful. 
This quality is also apparent in the leisurely, 
relaxed tempo and the absence of nervous ten¬ 
sions expressed in shoulder-hunching, fist-clench¬ 
ing, nose-picking and hair-twiddling. There are 
no taut vocal chords and breathless voices, and 
hardly a nail biter. While the children are alert, 
there are no signs of restlessness. 

These signs of quality denote an emotional 
easiness on the part of teachers and children. 
But this does not mean that there are no bad 
tempers, no opposition to adults, no aggression. 
It is highly important to distinguish between the 
quiet that results from adult demands that 
children should show only their positive feelings 
(called ‘behaving nicely'), and the deep quality 
which meets one w'hen the children are accepted 
as, and allowed to be, themselves. The apparent 
peace of the first is brittle, painful, lacking in all 
quality; the children are dependent and appre¬ 
hensive. Where there is quality, there is satisfac¬ 
tion. This is the heart of the matter. In a good 
Infant School, children are alive and vital, and 
deeply satisfied. What does this mean? They 
have strivings, desires and needs, that change 
with growth, and that can make for good adjust¬ 
ment to the adult world. They are most success¬ 
ful, venturesome, well behaved and happiest when 
these needs are satisfied. But while there are 
general needs of all children, there are needs of 
certain ages at particular levels of growth. There 
are needs of different groups of children and also 


needs of individuals. A good Infant School 
satisfies these needs while the children are in 
school. The physical needs of fresh air, sunlight, 
rest, food movement are the school's responsi¬ 
bility as w'ell as the parents'; open-air life, clean 
windows that open and let in the sunlight, rest 
for those who need it. Whether or not there are 
'dinner helpers’ and ‘cooked meals centres’, it is 
the responsibility of the teachers to insist on 
good, suitable food, special arrangements for 
newcomers, sympathetic handling of eating 
troubles, attention to individual requirements. 
Why should we bother about such apparently 
uneducational matters ? Because we are respon¬ 
sible for the development and care of every child. 

Then teachers simply cannot ignore the need 
for freedom to move about naturally. Cramped 
school life means cramped, unused muscles, 
strain, nervous tension, troublesome behaviour, 
and limited learning. Whatever the conditions, 
teachers have to plan for movement. The more 
congested the classroom, the more respectable 
the neighbourhood, the greater the need. No 
school is good unless the children are physically 
free. 

Then there are the needs of their growing per¬ 
sonalities. The T’ within the body must have 
security. In school, this means belonging, being 
at home, welcome. At five, it means belonging to 
your teacher and to the home-classroom. Later 
on, it includes acceptance by other children. 
Security for them all means being sure of their 
teacher, not only of her friendliness but of her 
control. There is the world of difference between 
the proud remark of a six-year-old, ‘She (the 
teacher) lets me do what I want to’, and the dis¬ 
satisfied, anxious complaint of another child of 
the same age in a different school, ‘She doesn't 
care what I do.' They all want to be sure that 
their teacher is stronger than they are, that she 
is able to protect them from themselves and from 
each other; that she has everything under control. 

They want pattern in their school lives, too. 
Without this, they are uneasy and feel lost. 
Knowing w'here things are, knowing clearly what 
is and what is not allowed, knowing roughly what 
comes next, knowing about serious changes in 
advance. Disorder within the classroom and 
indecision on the part of the teacher is bad for 
them. A day without pattern is bad, too. They 
cannot make use of long stretches of freedom; 
the responsibility is too much for them. It would 


March 1953 


THE GOOD INFANT SCHOOL 


43 


be a great misfortune if advocates of ‘free days’ 
were taken seriously. Anxiety would increase, 
feelings of insecurity would deepen and mental 
health would be impaired. A good Infant School 
provides a loosely patterned school day which 
can be adapted to the needs of different classes, 
groups and individuals. 

Every child must also feel that he is approved 
of because he can do things. It is most necessary 
for them all to achieve self-respect, partly through 
their teacher’s attitude of liking and approving 
and partly through the feeling of worthiness that 
comes from daily success of all kinds in practical 
and social matters. Every day, in scores of ways, 
a good school allows every child to build up the 
picture of ‘I am someone who can do things.’ It 
is a tragedy when teachers can only reckon 
success in terms of the three R’s. It is an even 
greater tragedy when this success is reckoned in 
relation to an unrealistic standard of attainment 
and rewarded by stars on wall charts. The good 
Infant School finds it easy enough to let every 
child, even in classes of fifty, experience achieve¬ 
ment which satisfies them on every school day. 

Children need the companionship of other 
children. They are often lonely in formal classes, 
although they are surrounded on all sides by 
children of their own age. They badly need to 
talk; and they have a great desire to master the 
intricacies of the adults’ world which surrounds 
them. In this connection, too, they feel the need 
to do what adults require of them although they 
do not always know how to do it. While they 
are in the Infant School, many of them desire to 
become skilled in the various ways approved of 
by grown-ups. As they mature they show the 
first signs of self criticism and they appeal for 
help which will repair their feelings of inadequacy. 
From being unable to put up with blame and 
disapproval, they grow strong enough to bear 
failure, but seek for more help in order to conform 
more successfully. 

These are general needs of all children. In 
different districts, the Infant School has to satisfy 
the special needs of particular groups, e.g. the 
middle-class group with its more developed sense 
of information, sometimes a more precocious 
desire for books. In another district, there is a 
greater need to stimulate speech, perhaps a 
greater need to challenge reading interests, and 
often a greater need for physical care. Then there 
are individual needs of all kinds. Every teacher 


knows the children who want more attention than 
others, those who want more assurance, those who 
need special playthings, those who want greater 
opportunities for success. 

Let us return to the question of quality. We 
have decided that the intangible we call quality 
is really the sense of satisfaction that pervades 
the school. Is there a vitality without quality, 
without this satisfaction ? Yes, it exists in a 
large number of schools. And the remedy ? To 
organize Infant Schools on the basis of the needs 
of the children who attend them. Programmes, 
methods, curricula, equipment—the entire para¬ 
phernalia of school organization can be built up 
on this basis. The result will be vitality and 
quality. And what about the education ? This 
is our next suggestion, viz., that the good Infant 
School can be recognized by the effectiveness of 
the education it provides. 

Books suggested (in the N.S.A. Library): 

Psychological Aspects of Child Development, Isaacs 
(Evans). 

Growth and Development of the Young Child, Rand, 
Sweeney, Lee Vincent (N.Y.). 


Braziers Park 

IPSDEN, OXON. Phone Checkendon 221 

RESIDENTIAL COURSES 

MAR. 13-16 Religion and/or Psychology 

Joint Conference with Personalists 

MAR. 20-23 Experimental Painting and Modelling 

Jeannie Cannon 

MAR. 27-30 Learn to Learn a Foreign Language 

French and German Tutors 

Particulars will soon be available of 

Whitsun Dance and Drama Festival 

International Seminar, July 28-August 11 

Leader : Dr. C. Gattegno 

Sensory Summer School, August 19-September 2 
“Values in Conflict” 

WINTER CHARGES 

Friday Dinner to Monday Breakfast: £2 17s. 6d. 

Friday Dinner to Sunday Dinner: £2 12s. Od. 

Saturday Tea to Sunday Dinner : £1 11s. 6d. 


A2 






MAKING COLOUR PRINTS 

An Approach to Lino Cutting JOHN NEWICK, A.T.D., D.A.E. 

In this book John Newick explores a method of cutting and printing in colour using only 
one lino block, a method which is a real contribution to the craft in that it solves one of 
the educational problems in combining craft with self expression. He believes that 
pictorial colour printing from lino can achieve the same dignity as colour lithography, 
and since 1947 he has developed his ideas at Sidcot school where a strong tradition 
has been built up. For his research in the use of lino cutting in schools he was, in 1950, 
awarded the first Diploma of Art Education. 60 pages, illustrated by excellent examples, 
some of which are in colour. 13/- post free. 

CATALOGUE OF CRAFT BOOKS, post free, from Dept. 65 

THE DRYAD PRESS : : LEICESTER 


HEINEMANN 


Something really new in supplementary readers 

The Ruth Ainsworth Readers 

A new series of supplementary readers by an author well loved for her 
broadcast stories and published books. Each book contains one complete 
story. The books have been most attractively illustrated by John Mackay. 
Print, paper and binding are of the first quality. First titles ready now. 

First Titles for Stage One (7-8 Year Olds) 

i . THE COTTAGE BY THE SEA 2. LITTLE WIFE GOODY 
3. THE ROBBER 4. THE WILD BOY 

is. each 


99 GREAT RUSSELL STREET, W.C.l 


44 













SOME THOUGHTS ON ARITHMETIC AND 

CHILD DEVELOPMENT 

D. M. Alderson, oj Park Infants' School , Doncaster 


M any of us who are infants' teachers believe 
that the life in our schools should be 
based on the needs and interests of the 
children, and we therefore try to organize our 
schools so that the children can have the fullest 
opportunity for what we call ‘satisfying activity 
in a stimulating environment’. It is, perhaps, in 
our individual interpretations of ‘satisfying ac¬ 
tivity’ and in our different ideas of what con¬ 
stitutes a ‘stimulating environment’ that our 
schools show the greatest variation; these are 
not really, however, matters for conjecture but 
for observation, and teachers should be constantly 
seeking to discover children’s true needs and 
interests. This is the only way in which we can 
give life and meaning to some of the terms we 
use in professing our beliefs. 

In the school in which I teach we tried to find 
out more about the needs of individual children 
through living with them rather than merely 
teaching them, and in doing so we discovered 
that we were building up an entirely new con¬ 
ception of what a school should be. We began 
to realize that there was a noticeable growth of 
feeling in the community and we discovered that, 
in an environment where there is full scope for a 
sincere expression of feeling, new attitudes to 
learning are created. As we lived and shared the 
experiences of the children, we realized that each 
experience of each child was in itself something 
new and that we must deal with such an experience 
as it arose, making our own contribution at the 
appropriate time. 

It became no longer feasible to plan a scheme 
of work beforehand, since the activity of the 
children was not something we could predict 
in a weekly forecast and attempt to carry out 
according to a pre-conceived plan. Indeed, as 
our new conception of a school began to take 
shape, we found that many of our ‘traditional’ 
ideas of planning and many of our former ways 
of recording progress had to be discarded; we 
realized, too, that we were gradually building 
up a set of values that were partly new, particu¬ 
larly in our changing attitude to the Arithmetic 
or Number teaching in our school. 

Formerly, we had on our time-tables periods 


labelled Number Activities’. These were planned 
by us and based upon what we thought were the 
interests of the children. We provided a series 
of organized practical activities in which the 
children weighed, measured and shopped in a 
limited way, according to instructions. These 
activities were supplemented by a graded scheme 
worked out in a ‘logical’ sequence. It began by 
introducing pieces of apparatus for associating 
and number group with the symbol, and con¬ 
tinued through the various stages of addition, 
subtraction, composition, multiplication and divi¬ 
sion of these numbers with the aid of attractive, 
well-made counting apparatus. The child worked 
through a number of sum cards at each stage, 
and his progress was recorded as he completed 
each set of cards. 

There are a number of comments one could 
make about various aspects of such a scheme, 
which had been planned with considerable 
thought and good intention; there are, too, 
several observations one would wish to make 
about the various reasons which led us to query 
the ultimate values of our number teaching as it 
was. These do not, however, come easily within 
the scope of a short article. I can only say 
here that this changing attitude was a gradual 
process born out of a developing awareness of 
the real needs of children. As I, myself, became 
more aware, I found that I was beginning to ask 
myself certain questions such as: 

‘Does the teaching of Number serve any pur¬ 
pose and if so , what is that purpose?’ 

‘What use is Number knowledge in everyday 
life?’ 

‘Does the Number teaching I am attempting 
bear any relation to the day-to-day living of 
the children?’ 

‘Does it mean anything to the children?’ 
Through asking myself simple, fundamental 
questions such as these and through allowing the 
answers to them to arise from the observations 
I had made on the children in my class, I realized 
that much of my own well-meant, well-planned 
number teaching was not only misdirected but 
often divorced from the life of the child. I had 
been thinking of Arithmetic (or Number) as a 


45 




THE NEW ERA 


March 1953 


•K. 

subject and unwittingly most of the* emphasis 
had been laid on the teaching of the subject 
rather than on the integrated growth of the child. 
I believe that many of us err in a similar way 
over the teaching of reading and music; we often 
introduce the children to the technique of these 
'subjects’ before they have any real interest in 
them. We may have achieved certain external 
results but I think that the children gained little 
beyond a certain ability to juggle with numbers, 
words and notes; I do not think that this way 
of teaching them helps them to form clear 
concepts of numerical meanings and values, to 
read books for content and ideas or to love 
music and create melodies. 

So I schooled myself to think of number ex¬ 
periences more in relation to the child’s develop¬ 
ment as a whole person. After all, the child 
comes into contact with Number in a variety of 
natural situations throughout the day: he gets 
up, sets off for school, has his meals and goes to 
bed at stated times; he eats a specific number of 
sweets, gives so many away, has so many remain¬ 
ing ; he sees his mother cut an apple into halves, 
giving one to him and the other to his sister; he 
goes shopping with his mother and hears her ask 
for ‘two pounds of sugar’, 'half a pound of mar¬ 
garine’ and sometimes sees the grocer weigh these 
quantities; he sees the bottle of milk and hears it 
referred to as ‘a pint of milk'. Later he begins to 
count the number of times he can bounce his ball 
or skip without stopping. He counts the number 
of bricks needed to complete his tower and, even 
more important, he begins to estimate the number 
of bricks he will need for that purpose and to 
judge the length of a piece of wood needed for a 
boat he is constructing. He begins to notice 
numbers on cars and houses, on 'buses and on 
'bus tickets. 

These natural experiences of every child re¬ 
appear in his play at home and at school. The 
five-year-old who is making a table, struggles to 
make four legs equal in size and to place them at 
the corners. Another five-year-old, playing in the 
Wendy House, sets the table with four plates, 
four spoons and four cups and saucers for four 
children; another who is making a lorry, on 
finishing his four wheels, carefully places two at 
the front and two at the rear; while another, who 
is making a truck, looks into the waste box for his 
four wheels and on finding one only says, 'I need 
another three w'heels, please'. 


As I observed these children and many others 
in similar situations, I realized that in this way 
they were forming a much clearer concept of the 
'fourness of four’ than they would have done 
from a card showing four dots and the figure ‘4’. 
Moreover, out of their own experience, number 
groupings w’ere emerging in a spontaneous w r ay. 
For example, in placing the wheels on the lorry 
we find the grouping 2 -f- 2 = 4 or 2 X 2= 4; in 
the problem met by the shortage of w r hcels for 
the truck the child is really understanding that 
‘4 = 3 + 1'. 

So it seemed clear to me that such number 
experiences, whether at home or at school, make 
a vital contribution to the social as well as to the 
intellectual growth of the child; through these 
experiences he finds out more about the world in 
which he lives. When I began to realize the full 
implications of these and similar experiences, I 
found myself becoming more aware of the many 
and varied situations in which individual children 
experience number in a meaningful and purposeful 
way during the course of an ordinary day. Per¬ 
haps it w'ould be helpful, at this point, to quote 
briefly from our records. The teacher of the 
five-year group writes: 

‘To-day seven children came to the Milk Table 
at the same time and they realized that there was 
not enough room for them all to have their milk 
then. I said, “There are not enough chairs for all 
of you so some of you must wait until later. I 
wonder how many of you will have to wait ?” 
The children began to count themselves and it 
did not take them long to find out that four of 
them could sit on the four chairs and that three 
of them must go away and come back later. 
Barrie said, “There are seven of us altogether so 
four and three make seven”.' 

In the records of the six-year group we find: 

‘This morning a piece of group work occurred 
quite spontaneously. Six boys took all the clay 
from the bin and began to depict Paul’s birthday 
tea in clay. I did not see the actual model until 
it was almost completed but throughout the 
morning I was aware of their absorption and also 
of their co-operation as they discussed with each 
other various points about w’hat they were 
making. All the boys in the group had been to 
Paul's birthday party some weeks before and this 
model consisted of the various cakes and jellies 
arranged on plates, of themselves playing games 
and finally a spectacular birthday cake. Paul 


March 1953 some thoughts on arithmetic and child development 


47 


said to me, “Everything we have made is just 
like it was at my party except for the birthday 
cake. We all liked making candles so we decided 
to make a hundred candles.” They had made a 
hundred candles between them and had arranged 
them in groups of ten. When this was done each 
boy in turn counted the hundred candles in tens, 
not once but several times, obviously savouring 
the experience.’ 

The following example describing the work of 
David, aged 6£, shows not only the beginnings of 
geometrical knowledge, but also evidence of his 
reasoning. 

‘David was making a rabbit hutch from an 
orange box. He made the framework for the door 
—half being blocked in and the other half open 
so that he could nail wire netting on to it. We 
had no wire netting in stock so, as he was anxious 
to continue, I suggested string as an alternative. 
He took some nails and a ruler. Using the ruler 
he carefully marked the place for each nail along 
the top and the bottom and then along the 
opposite sides. He explained to me that there 
must be the same distance between each nail and 
that the ones at the bottom must be exactly 
opposite the ones at the top just as those along 
the sides must be opposite. Then he said, “If the 
spaces between the top nails are the same as the 
spaces between the bottom nails then they will be 
opposite.” When the nails were all carefully 
knocked in he made a good job of weaving the 
string in and out. Then he fixed on the door with 
two hinges (counting his screws in threes). On 
the following morning, however, I noticed that 
he was undoing all this careful work. He looked 
at me and said, “I’m afraid your idea of using 
string instead of wire netting won’t work; you 
see, rabbits eat string ! ” ’ 

If the environment is rich in material which is 
both satisfying to handle and suggestive of 
possibility, then the children will experiment, 
create and construct. Naturally, one includes 
in a stimulating environment a variety of material 
and equipment which is not only suitable to the 
interests of the children but which in itself 
presents problems and suggests possibilities. 
There is sand and water and many spoons and 
vessels of different sizes; scales and weights and 
many different commodities to be weighed in 
quantity. There are sets of stamps and ’bus 
tickets of all denominations. There are also 
collections of different kinds of articles suitable 


The “ Charlecote ” Reading Riddles 
from A to Z 

Intelligence Tests and Reading and Composition 
Exercises combined. A set of 24 cards each 
containing six familiar words and as many 
desci iptive sentences. I he proper word to answer 
the descriptive sentence has to be discovered 
Price per set 2/1, by post 2/3. 

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A series of 12 “Fold-ups,” size 3* in. x 3* in.; 
each fold-up unfolds into seven pages. The 
puzzle is to answer the question “ What am I ? ” 
The reading matter is printed in script and 
supplies clues page by page. 

Price per set 2/6, by post 2/8J. 

“ Spelling-for-fun” Cards, Sets A & B 

A set of spelling and intelligence tests consisting 
of 24 cards. Each gives three exercises; a spelling 
exercise; a composition exercise and a drawing 
exercise. 

Price per set 2/7, by post 2/8£. 

Arithmetic Puzzle Cards 

A set of sixteen cards introducing a varied collec¬ 
tion of original Arithmetic Puzzles; Cross Number 
Puzzles; Missing Figure Puzzles, etc. A complete 
set of answers is included. 

Price per set 1/9, by post 1/11. 

CHARLES and SON LTD. 

Woodbridge House, Clerkenwell Green, 
London, E.C.l. 


for buying and selling and boxes of money to 
use along with these home-made shops. There 
are simple recipes and all the equipment for 
baking and it is interesting to see the many and 
varied problems which arise and are solved when 
children are weighing and baking. Here is a 
typical situation in the six to seven-year group: 

‘Pat was baking chocolate buns; Christine, 
who was new to the School said “I wish I could 
bake but my Mummie won’t believe me when I 
tell her we bake at this school and she won’t let 
me bring any fats and sugar.” Pat said “Well 
Christine, I’ve weighed all I need and there is 
some fat left. You can have that. Weigh it and 
then see if there is a recipe needing only that 
amount.” Christine took Pat’s surplus fat, 
weighed it and found it weighed one ounce. She 
looked through all the recipes and found that the 
one requiring the least fat still required two 
ounces. Judy said “You can still bake, Christine; 
you needn’t make as many buns; make half as 
many and then you will only need one ounce of 
fat, but remember you will need only half of the 
other things, too.” 

‘So Christine took the recipe and I showed her 





48 


THE NEW ERA 


March 1958 


how to make a new recipe using half the quanti¬ 
ties. This being accomplished she proceeded with 
great satisfaction to make a smaller number of 
buns.' 

In this way, it seems to me that the children 
will, at their own level, form number concepts 
which will help them considerably when later they 
come to deal with abstractions. It is interesting 
to notice the children who have really grasped 
a numerical idea in this way. 

‘Janet was using the water measures and 
setting problems for herself. She showed me 
the pint measure and then the half pint measure 
and said — “I don't need to see how many half 
pints make a pint. I know without filling them 
with w'ater. It will be two because it always 
takes two halves to make a whole.” Some time 
later she heard Elizabeth asking me for help. 
Elizabeth was trying to determine the cost of an 
envelope if they were sold at two for a penny. 
Janet looked up from her story-writing and said 
“They will cost a halfpenny each, Elizabeth, 
because one is half of two and a half of a penny 
is a halfpenny ." ' 

I felt that Janet had formed a clear concept 
of a half though I could not have recorded the 
various stages in the process of her doing so in 
the old traditional way of record-keeping. 

It was about this time that I wrote in my 
record of six to seven-year-old children: 

'There is at the present time an enthusiasm 
about measurement of all kinds. The children 
naturally stimulate each other's interest but 
many of them approach it in different ways. 
Barbara and Elizabeth began by making books 
about water measuring. They set their own 
problems such as finding the capacity of a variety 
of vessels in the classroom and later comparing 
one result with another. They made their own 
investigations and experiments and needed no 
help. Other children began to measure each 
other and various articles of equipment in the 
room. 

‘As the interest in measurement was so keen I 
mentioned it to the children, who had gathered 
together to listen to a story. I asked Barbara 
and several other children to show us their books 
and to tell us what they had found out. A 
spontaneous discussion followed and the children 
talked about the many different ways of measur¬ 
ing. They mentioned weighing, liquid measure¬ 
ment, length measurement, money and time; 


they discussed why it was necessary to use these 
different kinds of measurement, by whom they 
were used and which measures were used for 
specific purposes. The children made some 
thoughtful observations, especially about the 
difference between a liquid and a solid. Then 
Christine suddenly said: “If you measured jelly 
when it was set you would weigh it but if you 
measured it before it was set you would need a 
pint measure”. 

‘Immediately the other children began to 
mention other substances which could take both 
a liquid and a solid form and what action was 
required to make a solid into a liquid — and so on. 

‘On the following morning I noticed several 
children experimenting; they filled a half pint 
measure with water, then weighed it. Next they 
filled it, in turn, with flour, salt, clay and later 
oil. They recorded each weight and later com¬ 
pared it with the weight of the half pint of water. 
I must watch this spontaneous measurement and 
its recording carefully during the next few weeks 
for it seems to me to have something of a creative 
quality. The children are suggesting their own 
problems and carrying out their experiments with 
integrity of purpose and in their own way.’ 

These examples from our records are only a few 
chosen from many; through my increasing aware¬ 
ness of these and similar experiences I found that 
I was naturally and spontaneously putting the 
children into the way of seeing the number aspect 
of what they were doing and later, through their 
own interest, guiding them to a natural pro¬ 
gression. Thus, I found, that number work was 
being done in a variety of ways. Some of the 
children were reading maps and determining the 
distances between certain towns by using two- 
inch, three-inch or five-inch scales; some were 
recording and adding up their cricket scores; 
several children regularly took stock of the baking 
and weighing materials and calculated how much 
had been used since the last stock-taking; follow¬ 
ing the death of King George the Sixth, Michael 
became interested in the lengths of the reigns of 
former monarchs. He asked me to give him a 
table showing the dates of all the kings and then 
he calculated the length of each reign and com¬ 
pared it with the length of the reign of George the 
Sixth. All the children used the number know¬ 
ledge they already possessed and were acquiring 
new knowledge, through their own need and 
interest. For my own part, I found that I, their 


March 1953 


SOME THOUGHTS ON ARITHMETIC AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT 


49 



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teacher, was building up a new teaching technique 
in the light of each new experience. 

In conclusion it is perhaps relevant to make a 
brief reference to some of the questions which are 
not infrequently asked, particularly in relation to 
number work with young children. Amongst the 
most common of these are: 

‘How do you approach the three R’s ?’ 

‘How soon do you begin formal work in 
Arithmetic ?’ 

‘What standards of attainment and what 
stage do you expect your children to reach by 
the time they are ready to leave the Infant 
school ?’ 

Some of us who are concerned with Child 
Development feel that it is not easy to answer 
these questions precisely. This is partly because 
we have come to think of the Infant school as a 
happy and serene environment in which the 
process of growth is a continuous and integrated 
whole and therefore it is difficult to think of the 
life there in terms of a curriculum, of schemes of 
work and of separate subjects. Perhaps it is 
possible to suggest, however, that towards the 
end of their Infant school life the children will 


have acquired a store of knowledge from a wide, 
quantitative experience of daily life. Their 
vocabulary should easily include the simple units 
of time, space and quantity and they should be 
able to make simple calculations for themselves. 
Often, at some stage during the last two terms in 
the Infant school, some of the children show a 
genuine interest in recording. This need to record 
their experiences in writing coincides with writing 
readiness and research interests in other direc¬ 
tions. Thus we find the recording of number 
experiences shown in a variety of ways, the 
children’s books frequently showing originality of 
expression and creative thought and effort as 
well as evidence of the solving of numerical 
problems. It is out of such recordings that the 
abstract sum may grow but, in general, I would 
say that the time for this to happen is at the very 
end of the Infant school life or preferably when 
the children enter the Junior school. It is here 
that they begin to learn through the spoken and 
written word as well as through experience, and 
it is at this stage that they need help in sorting 
out and classifying the vast amount of knowledge 
gained through experience in the Infant school. 











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SOME SOCIAL DEVELOPMENTS IN A PLAY 

CENTRE 

Joyce Haworth, M.A ., Lecturer in Education, University of Manchester, Organizer of Play Centres, Manchester University 

Settlement 


I T has always been a policy of the Manchester 
University Settlement to cater for the young 
children of Ancoats as well as for the teen-age 
and adult groups, and in 1949 the Play Centre 
was reopened after post-war reorganization. The 
first essential was the provision of material 
suitable for different types of play and various 
age groups up to ten years. 

Not all the materials were bought immediately, 
and many gifts were sent into the Settlement 
at Christmas and other times (the motor-car 
so provided has given dozens of boys endless 
pleasure since it was received). 

It was soon found that quite young children 
were going to make use of the Centre, so a further 
supply of materials suitable for children between 
two and four years of age has been collected 
gradually, such as hammering boards, inter¬ 
locking wooden trains, large-sized wooden jig-saw 
puzzles, bricks, etc. 

Play Centre generally meets when the building 
is unoccupied by other groups and therefore has 
a reasonable amount of room at its disposal. 
Usually it occupies a large playroom, a small 
quiet room, available for reading and table-games 
and a woodwork room with benches. There is a 
large round hall with a stage, available on the 
ground floor, and recently there has been a 
tendency to use this hall for free-play as it is 
much lighter and larger than the basement play¬ 
room. 

During the first two years no attempt was made 
to limit the numbers coming into the Centre, 
which meets after school on week-days and on 
Saturday mornings: the result was that the 
numbers increased rapidly to an average of 75 a 
night and frequently during the winter months 
reached the 90’s. Since the Organizer has only 
students to help her, it was decided that if any 
standard of behaviour was to be hoped for or any 
adequate observation of the play made, the 
numbers must be limited drastically, and the 
maximum number is now 40 each evening. 
Already a marked improvement in play behaviour 
and a decrease in tension can be seen, and more 
time can be given to individual children, par¬ 


ticularly to the affection- and attention-seekers, 
of which there are several. 

The Play Centre was not planned for thera¬ 
peutic work, but although it was organized on an 
assumption of the normality of the children, a 
certain number of disturbed children inevitably 
find their way into it. It is possible that the very 
free situation is in itself an attraction for this type 
of child. The extremely aggressive boy whose 
behaviour shows bullying, destructiveness and a 
refusal to accept authority, naturally feels that 
here is a situation in which he can express these 
tendencies freely. The attention-seeker, too, 
appears to find satisfaction through the presence 
of an adult who, although she may represent 
authority, is not unyielding authority, but has 
time to listen to the seemingly trivial chatter of 
the child, to hold her hand and to attempt to find 
an activity that will be of benefit and enjoyment 
—more time, at any rate, than the overworked 
mother and the teacher of the over-large class. 
It has been found that the Play Centre has had 
greater success with children of the latter category 
and with the withdrawn solitary child than with 
the aggressive ‘problem’ child. Quite clearly, it 
is not possible to allow a boy complete freedom 
for expression of his aggressive tendencies if by 
so doing he is going to interfere unduly with the 
activities of other children. 

Example: John T., boy, 9 years 3 months, well-built 
handsome child—aggressive and difficult—later referred 
to the Child Guidance Clinic and accepted for treatment 
for emotional disturbance. John and his ‘gang’, a 
group of seven boys varying from 6 years 1 month to 
10 years; playing at ‘Cops and Robbers’. John in highly 
excitable state—face red and eyes staring—armed 
himself with wooden sword made in woodwork room 
by another boy—all seven boys rushing up and down 
corridors and through playroom in highly complicated 
game. John seizes hold of small girl 5 years old and 
says: ‘You’re a prisoner’, ties hands together with 
skipping rope—child willing to co-operate. Boys now 
merged into one band and began to chase girls most 
of girls seem to be enjoying the fun—wave of excitement 
sweeps over the Centre—suddenly John begins to hit 
all around him with sword—is asked not to do so as 
he is hurting others, glares and runs to other side of 
the room picking up a rope and trying to lasso a girl 
as he runs past. He catches the girl and pulls the rope 
so tight that she begins to cry—adult intervenes and 
suggests that play should be less rough. John turns to 
girl and says, ‘I’ll blind you when you get outside. 


52 


THE NEW ERA 


March 1953 


I’ll push your eyes in, I'll belt you when we’re outside.’ 
Turns, runs upstairs, slams the door shut and throws 
a stone at it. 

This l>ehaviour was typical of the boy and eventually 
he and his gang became so aggressive that the smaller 
children were becoming frightened and it was obvious 
that although this type of behaviour might be a means 
of releasing tension in the boy himself, it was unfair 
to the other children and could not be allowed to 
continue. Various activities were provided which it was 
hoped would supply substitute means of release, 
including the purchase of several buckets of mortar and 
tools for brick-laying, using old bricks that could be 
collected in the playground. This game was played with 
much enthusiasm for several weeks. A gang was 
organized for collecting the bricks and a workable sling 
made out of ropes and sticks constructed to bring them 
up from an area outside the playroom. Unfortunately 
although John took an active and very noisy part in 
the construction both of the sling and the walls which 
were to be part of a house, he kicked down all the work 
that had been done after Centre was closed. This 
happened so many times that the other boys became 
discouraged and the activity petered out. 

Various other schemes were introduced, including a 
’skittle alley’ using bricks and old tins, football and 
woodwork, but none of these had any lasting interest 
for John and eventually when he became 10 years old 
he moved into the Boys’ Club which caters for the boys 
from 10 to 14. (In other cases where it is felt that a 
child is benefiting from attending the Centre, the age 
limit is not adhered to.) 

The above has been quoted as a typical example 
of how the problem child cannot settle into a 
community, and shows how difficult it is to carry 
out therapy in a situation which involves a large 
number of children of various ages. 

One of the most interesting developments has 
been the group relationships established among 
the older children. During the first year, groups 
were very fluid and any that did form were 
usually under the domination of one child who 
assumed leadership by virtue of physical coercion, 
dominating personality, or ability to suggest 
interesting games and ideas for play. However, 
a child with a quiet approach and a sense of 
security (demonstrated by his ability to start his 
play and develop it without constant appeal to 
either an adult or other children for praise or 
help) would gradually draw round himself a stable 
group of children. The one who dominated merely 
by imposition of his personality retained only one 
or two 'faithful followers’ and the remainder of 
the group was constantly shifting. As the Centre 
itself became more stable, a solid nucleus of 
regular members was built up who recognized the 
three simple rules that governed them: 

(a) Do not break toys on purpose. 

(b) Do not hurt anyone on purpose. 

(c) Help to leave the building tidy. 


Stable groups within the total group began to 
establish themselves. The size of these groups 
varied from four to ten children and the more 
integrated were not dominated by one particular 
child. 

It has been found that the more stable a group 
is and the less under the domination of one child, 
the more able is the group to accept the refusal 
of one or two of its members to join in any 
particular activity on occasion and to accept 
them back into the group when a more desirable 
activity is started. For many weeks a large 
group of girls acted on the stage a play based on 
the story of Aladdin. For several nights there 
was much argument about how many scenes there 
should be and who should play the various parts. 
Eventually the oldest girl appointed herself the 
producer-cum-stage manager, and the various 
parts were allocated. From then onwards, for 
nearly three months, this group took their 
dressing-up box on to the stage on arrival, dressed 
and acted the play every night. The version 
varied a little each day and scenes were cut out 
and others substituted, but if any child did not 
wish to play on any particular occasion the parts 
were shifted round or an unattached child was 
brought into the play for that evening. Some¬ 
times boys would be invited to take the parts of 
Aladdin and the Wicked Uncle, the girls either 
directing the speeches and movements of their 
understudies, or going off to entirely different 
activities. Aladdin was eventually given before 
an audience which included the Lord Mayor, but 
it still retained many of the spontaneous im¬ 
promptu speeches of the children. 

An interesting aspect of this particular group 
was that it was made up of children from different 
schools and different religious denominations — 
Roman Catholic and Protestant — and within the 
Protestant group Church of England and Non- 
Conformist. After the very early months little or 
no comment was made about differing religious 
beliefs. At first, a few of the Catholic children 
would ask if the Organizer were a Catholic and if 
the other children were. The answer that all the 
people in the Settlement believed in God and 
Jesus Christ and tried to live in a way that would 
please them appeared to satisfy them, and 
recently a Catholic girl was heard to comment, 
‘We all believe in God and that is the important 
thing.’ This unity between Catholic and Protes¬ 
tant children was most apparent when a Nativity 


March 1953 


SOME SOCIAL DEVELOPMENTS IN A PLAY CENTRE 


53 


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play, with a cast of children from both churches, 
helped and supported by the parents, was given 
at Christmas. 

After the performance of the Nativity play, 
which had been carefully prepared, with a good 
deal of adult help, interest in formal play-acting 
seemed to die down. The dressing-up clothes 
were just as popular but the plays enacted were 
short and took the form of spontaneous working 
out of imaginative play, e.g. dressing in long 
frocks and trains, putting on crowns and being 
‘princesses’ going to a ball, meeting a ‘prince’ and 
marrying him. Frequently the ‘princess’ would 
then become the mother of a large family, would 
forget her former rank and go shopping, put her 
children to bed, spank them, and generally con¬ 
tinue with the usual house-play activities. At 
times there would be a reversion to the formal 
play-acting and Cinderella was prepared, but this 
was only a half-hearted effort and was soon 
abandoned in favour of family play. 

During the play period two or three different 
groups usually carried out different activities, 
sometimes imaginative play, sometimes games 
such as skittles or ball, or improvised games on 


the climbing apparatus, or a smaller group, con¬ 
sisting of three or four children, would settle down 
to painting or clay-modelling, sewing or knitting, 
meanwhile discussing and comparing their work. 
The woodwork room was free for any child to 
use; here also three or four boys would very often 
decide to do woodwork together, going in at the 
same time and coming out together. It was 
found that these smaller groups were closely knit 
for the activity of the moment, although they 
might disband immediately the interest in the 
particular activity had waned. A group of chil¬ 
dren working with clay would be loth to let 
another child join in, even though there was both 
room and material. In the woodwork room three 
boys would jealously guard a fourth boy s tools, 
even though he had finished using them, if an 
outsider came into the room—e.g. if one boy had 
finished sawing the others would keep his saw, 
replying to any requests for it, ‘ 1 hat s Michael s 

saw, he’s in our gang to-night.' 

Towards very young children a much more 
tolerant attitude was usually taken. Pat. Let 
little Janet in—here’s some clay, love , Jackie. 
‘Look at little George, Miss—he’s pinched my 






THE NEW ERA 


54 

hammer and is trying to hammer that nail' or 
'Can that little un have a hammer ? Isn’t she 
funny ?’ This good-humoured consideration of 
the small child manifested itself in numerous 
ways. The basement playroom becomes very 
crowded at times, particularly as two billiard 
tables are permanently erected in it. One over¬ 
crowded evening four ten-year-old boys were 
swinging on the trapeze trying to find out who 
could go the highest; several two-year-olds were 
pushing wheelbarrows from one side of the room 
to the other. The biggest ten-year-old, a rather 
uncouth, rough lad, jumped off the trapeze when 
he saw’ the adult in charge and said, ‘We’ve taken 
our boots off, Miss, in case we should kick a little 
one and then it wouldn’t hurt them !’ On another 
occasion a very tough lad w r as seen w’ith a three- 
year-old holding his hand and patiently walking 
up and down three steps counting, ‘One, two, 
three, down; one, tw’o, three, up’. On seeing the 
adult he smiled and said, ‘He just w’ants to go up 
and dow’n the steps.’ 

The children are given a cup of cocoa in the 
middle of the play period. This is prepared and 
cleared away by different groups in rota and it is 
a subject which very often comes up for dis¬ 
cussion in the Children's Committee meetings. 
Nearly always the comment is made: ‘We’ll send 
the little ones in first, then they can sit down and 
we'll be sure they get theirs.’ 

This Committee consists . of eight children 
between seven and ten years of age and meets 
for a quarter of an hour after Centre on Wednes¬ 
day evening. They discuss the general function¬ 
ing of the Centre, anything unusual that has 
occurred during the week, and any ways in which 
certain things might be altered or improved. 
Suggestions for different activities can be brought 
forward and discussed. At one Committee meet¬ 
ing, the idea of having a library was first broached. 
The children elected a librarian and an assistant 
librarian; they were provided with a shelf in one 
of the cupboards, fifty-two books, sheets of paper 
and pencils. At this time a young librarian from 
a local library was helping on one evening a w r eek 
in the Centre and, on request, talked to the 
'librarians’ and suggested w r ays in which they might 
organize their library. These were followed out, 
and finally the fifty-two books had ticket-pockets 
and tickets made for them, and the library was 
duly opened, w'ith threats of fines for unpunctu¬ 
ality in returning books or for mishandling them. 


March 1953 

The formation of the Committee, and the 
seriousness with which the members took it, was 
the result of a gradual growth of a sense of 
responsibility in the children. In the early stages 
a great many of them had no conception of 
loyalty or good social behaviour in this free 
situation. For many w’eeks toys and materials 
were stolen every evening, others were deliberately 
destroyed and damaged; the children were rough 
with each other and tried to use the adult in order 
to ‘play-off each other. Maureen: ‘Miss! Miss! 
that boy’s hit me across the face for nothing !' 
Joe: ‘That tart coming into woodwork and taking 
my hammer’ or Joe: ‘I’m gaffer here—get out 
you — Miss, you said I’d to look after the tools.' 
It was quite impossible to lend anyone the keys 
for the various cupboards so that they might get 
out their own materials; not only were the 
shelves raided but the keys themselves were 
‘lost’, to be used later for raids on the cupboards 
when the Centre was closed. Dolls were used as 
footballs by the boys despite the provision of 
balls; paints were used as ammunition by the 
girls when chasing the boys; and clay and dough 
were used indiscriminately for throwing at walls 
and ceilings and each other. 

Gradually over the months a more orderly 
spirit began to prevail. It became a point of 
honour to borrow the keys in order to get a 
particular toy and to return them with the 
cupboard intact; to-day the keys are handed out 
to any child on request and are more often in the 
possession of some boy or girl than in that of the 
adult. This was achieved partly by the natural 
‘settling-down’ process and partly by the refusal 
of the organizer to replace any material that was 
stolen. If a child complained that there were no 
balls, then the reply would be, ‘The balls have all 
been taken away, so I am afraid that there will 
be no more.' The children gradually became 
aware that their stealing was depriving them of 
games and enjoyment in the Centre. Those chil¬ 
dren who did not steal but had not been unduly 
concerned about it became indignant when they 
found that toys and materials were not available 
and so the idea grew that it was undesirable to 
steal from a practical point of view. Later a few 
of the parents began to express definite views on 
their children’s behaviour. One or two things 
were returned with messages of regret; one mother 
told her daughter: ‘It’s a shame to take things 
when so much is being done for you'; the child 




55 


March 1953 some social developments 

repeated this to other children and gradually this 
conception of the unfairness of stealing from the 
Centre became general. Time will show whether 
this attitude will be extended outside the 
Centre. 

This growing sense of loyalty and responsibility 
manifested itself in other ways. The toys were 
handled with more care and greater pride was 
shown in keeping them unbroken. Kathleen, 
eight years: ‘We’ve had that doll a long time and 
it isn't broken yet.’ John: ‘I can mend that bed, 

I'll take it into woodwork.’ (The mended article 
was often less usable after treatment than 
before!) 

A great many of the children from this area are 
not accustomed to tidiness. Their lives are lived 
in a perpetual muddle and one of the most difficult 
problems has been to persuade them to leave the 
rooms tidy for other groups. This problem is not 
confined to the young children. The need for 
putting the toys away in the cupboard so that 
they can be taken out easily the next day is still 
not fully appreciated; most children feel they 
have done all they need if the toys have been 
thrown in anyhow and the cupboard locked so 
that they cannot be ‘pinched’. The slight im¬ 
provement shown in this direction has come about 
partly because groups of children have been 
allowed to help in the quarterly tidying up and 
clearing out of cupboards and have therefore taken 
a personal pride in their appearance, and partly 
by insisting that everything is put back in the 
same place. The toy cupboard is a very fasci¬ 
nating place and the temptation to search through 
boxes and unearth treasures is very great. At one 
time many of the children would empty boxes on 
to the floor and then wander off, leaving the 
contents still strewn about. It is only in isolated 
cases that this now happens; it is nearly always 
the difficult and aggressive child who ruthlessly 
throws toys, etc., on to the floor. In these cases 
it has been found that the best solution is for the 
organizer to start tidying away, making no 
comment, and then to ask the culprit who 
frequently returns to the scene of the crime, 
to help. 

Since the formation of the Committee, the 
general tidiness has improved as it is a point that 
can be brought up for discussion. It has been 
found that a Committee member will be respon¬ 
sible for certain jobs, such as looking after the 
sewing materials, the woodwork tools, paints, etc., 


IN A PLAY CENTRE 


BEGINNINGS—TEACHING 
ART TO CHILDREN 

By MINNIE McLEISH & ELLA MOODY 

This new edition of No. 28 in the ‘ How 
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100 illustrations. Cloth. 15s. net. 

CHILD ART GROWS UP 

By KENNETH HOLMES & HUGH COLLINSON 

A comprehensive presentation of the 
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the appreciation of art; and of what it 
can mean to the adult. This book sur¬ 
veys the possible fields for experiment 
in various media. 

150 illustrations. Cloth. 18s. net. 

From all good booksellers 

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but the child in charge must be changed at 
intervals for (a) he cannot sustain interest in one 
job for long, (b) other children can benefit by the 
experience of responsibility, (c) certain children 
do not react favourably to the power that is given 
to them. It is more satisfactory for the child to 
know that the job is for a limited time only, as 
it reduces the tension which arises if he knows 
that he is abusing power and is afraid that the 
cherished concession may be taken away. 

We do not claim that the opportunities for play 
afforded these children are having remarkable 
effects upon their development. Most of the ob¬ 
servations made are subjective and consequently 
it is impossible to maintain that certain develop¬ 
ments recorded are entirely the result of the play 
situation. Nevertheless, it is suggested that 
freedom combined with security has helped these 
children to reach an awareness, however slight, of 
their responsibility to others who do not belong 
to the classroom or school situation, and to form 
group relationships which have been of value to 
them in their social and emotional development, 
particularly since their presence in the Centre is 

voluntary. 








THE NEW ERA 


56 

Tw ins. A Study of Three Pairs of 
Identical Twins with 30 Charts. 
Dorothy Burlingham. (Imago Pub¬ 
lishing Co., Ltd., London, 35/-). 

For those who are thinking of trying 
the experiment next time of being born 
twins, my advice is to choose parents 
who live near a library. Few parents 
would be able to afford to buy Mrs. 
Burlingham‘s book, yet they could 
enjoy following the fortunes of the 
three pairs of identical twins the details 
of whose development are faithfully 
and clearly set out in charts. Such 
charts are expensive to print but they 
are indispensable here, and Imago 
Publishing Co. is to be congratulated 
on a beautiful as well as a valuable 
production. 

The study is a record of work done, 
and the comment, which is only half 
the book, is presumably intended for 
workers in the field, since certain terms 
are used in Mrs. Burlingham's personal 
conclusions, at the ends of chapters, 
that would be correctly understood 
only by those who know current 
psycho-analytic usage. I will return 
to this point later when I offer some 
criticisms. 

Mrs. Burlingham has long been 
known to have a special interest in 
twins, not only in the three sets of 
identicals that are reported here. A 
companion book on non-identical twins 
will be eagerly awaited. In this volume 
by careful planning the masses of facts 
are laid out for our benefit, facts which 
were recorded at a time of maximum 
air-raids, largely by persons whose own 
relation to home and country had been 
so rudely disturbed that paralysis 
might have been excused. This is not 
mentioned in the book, except that 
there are inevitable references to 
l>ombs, air-raid shelters and separa¬ 
tions attendant upon war. 

Details in the daily lives of the 
children are presented in such a way, 
helped by three-colour printing, that 
one can follow the development of each 
child or of each pair without difficulty, 
and one soon gets to know the children 
quite well. It is perhaps best for the 
reader to start with the charts of the 
set of twins presented last, because 
these were already 3 years 7 months 
when they came under observ ation and 
one is on familiar ground right away, 
watching the development of positive 
and negative interpersonal relation¬ 
ships, and of the instinct life, and of 
the organization of defences against 
anxiety and intolerable internal con¬ 
flict. 

As an example, it is easy, from the 
charts, to pick out, following the 
appropriate colour and column, that 
Mary, at 3 years 11 months, took over 
a male role. At 4 she said 'I am 
Daddy.' At about this time, being 


Book Reviews 

confronted with her daddy she hesi¬ 
tated, while Madge ran to meet him, 
and kissed him. This state of affairs 
was related to a subdued role that was 
being played by Madge. After Madge 
had been away ill, however, roles 
became reversed, to some extent. It 
was then Madge who said, ‘Daddy must 
not be killed.' This is only one of very 
many types of theme that could be 
studied from the charts by anyone who 
has limited opportunity for the study 
of actual twins in development, and in 
a controlled yet human environment. 
Many of the observations of these 
children remind one of those of Susan 
Isaacs, Piaget, Gesell; they are interest¬ 
ing but nowadays largely supplanted 
by direct observations made by 
students in practical work. Example: 
Madge (5*2), ‘Will to-day be yesterday 
to-morrow ?' as an example of the 
child’s conception of time. This and 
other comparable observations have 
increased value because they are 
related to the emotional climate and 
the environmental setting (in this 
instance, the absence of Mary, the 
twin, because of illness). 

Both the other sets of twins came to 
the Hampstead Nurseries at 4 months. 
Bill and Bert and also Bessie and 
Jessie had been evacuated with their 
mothers soon after birth. Both sets 
were fatherless. The observations of 
these, extending back to the early 
months, provide data that can only be 
excelled by complementary psycho¬ 
analytic studies, for the development 
of the theory of the emotional growth 
of human beings. 

The first question that will be asked 
is: When did the twins become aware 
of each other ? Bill and Bert began to 
take notice of each other at 7 months 
and Jessie and Bessie at 8 months. 
In each case there was a time-lag 
between the first recognition and 
mutual recognition. The onset of 
response to the mother was much 
earlier, but was difficult to sort out 
from a general response to being 
handled by the nurses who were also 
known to the infants. With this im¬ 
portant qualifying comment, it could 
be said that both infants (Bill and 
Bert) took notice of the mother’s visit 
from 4 months, the earliest time of 
observation. With Jessie and Bessie 
the response to the mother began 
several months before they responded 
to each other. At 4 months Jessie 
smiled at her mother, and at 7 months 
both she and Bessie had contact with 
her, by which I think is meant had 
formed a human relationship with her. 

These details show up the lateness 
of the observable mutual response 
between the twins of these two sets. 


March 1953 

and also have an interest apart 
.altogether from the study of twinship. 
It is clear that those who were ob¬ 
serving had no axe to grind, but were 
day by day making notes of what was 
to be seen and heard. 

I give this sample to try to whet the 
appetite of the reader, so that the book 
will get properly read and used. 

Mrs. Burlingham gradually shows 
that with twins there is not only the 
inborn alikeness. Soon the twins begin 
to copy each other. They copy each 
other for various distinct reasons, for 
instance: to please themselves and to 
please their mother; to distract each 
other; because of a dependence of one 
on the other; because of identification, 
with one incorporating the other and 
so compulsively imitating; to strike a 
balance between having all or re¬ 
nouncing all, through fairness and the 
demand for fair treatment; and so on. 

There is a unique opportunity in the 
twin relationship for team work, and 
Mrs. Burlingham has a comment to 
make on the light that a study of 
twinship may possibly throw on the 
origins of the gang, as for instance that 
of delinquents. 

At 2-5 Jessie and Bessie were 
separated through illness. Bessie, when 
told to lie down, said, ‘Me not liessie, 
me Jessie’ and lay down ordinarily 
when called Jessie. Mrs. Burlingham 
points out the identification with the 
lost love-object illustrated here and 
elsewhere in the material. My comment 
is that with twins the magical side of 
identification is facilitated, which 
means that the imaginative side can 
be by-passed, so that there is less of 
the depressive quality to the reaction, 
this latter depending on (imaginative) 
incorporation rather than on (magical) 
introjection. The result of the one is 
anxiety due to the destructive elements 
in the incorporation idea, and that of 
the other is simple possession by the 
unaltered love-object. 

By way of criticism I would say that 
some of Mrs. Burlingham's conclusions 
are marred by the use of terms that 
have a limited public. For instance 
(p. 16): ‘On the basis of the pleasure 
principle all babies respond to whatever 
gives them sensations of pleasure . . .’ 
The term 'pleasure principle' belongs 
to a theoretical construct of Freud, 
and those who are familiar with the 
growth of psycho-analytic theory will 
understand what is meant. But the 
term adds nothing and makes Mrs. 
Burlingham’s meaning liable to mis¬ 
understanding, especially as the para¬ 
graph ends with the phrase ‘the desire 
to please 4 deux', in which pleasure is 
used in the ordinary way and not as a 
technical term with specific connota¬ 
tion. As a technical term it belongs to 
a period of theorizing in which the 
object-seeking element in early erotic 



March 1953 

experience was being neglected in 
psycho-analytic writings, though (I 
believe) not in practice. 

I could drag in other criticism of this 
sort but the fact remains that the book 
has real value, and it can be used as a 
source for the student, and an example 
for those who have detailed observa¬ 
tions to present. 

Mrs. Burlingham pays due respect 
to the idea of twins and the contrast 
that exists between being a twin and 
imagining being a twin. I think there 
is more to be said about the actual twin 
situation. For instance, by the time 
twins start to show they notice each 
other there has already been plenty of 
room for good or unsatisfactory 
emotional development. Mrs. Burling¬ 
ham fully expounds the theory of the 
twin relationship in terms of inter¬ 
personal relationship and indeed as 
something profoundly affected by the 
satisfaction and the frustrating aspects 
of the ordinary triangular situation 
(parents and child), that is to say, the 
Oedipus complex. But twins are twins 
before they get as far as being whole 
human beings related to whole human 
beings. There is plenty of material in 
this book for a study of these very 
early matters. 

It is right to make a start by 
studying twins as persons -who have 
developed through these early stages 
(in which failure denotes a pre¬ 
disposition to insanity) to the stage of 
the Oedipus complex, in which failure 
spells neurosis. 

But the early tasks of the infant 
seem to me to be understressed in this 
book, and yet they are probably 
relevant. By early tasks I refer to 
the following: the development of 
the sense of self as a unit, integration 
of the personality; the development of 
a sense of existing in the body, of 
occupying it all, no more, no less; also 
the gradual acceptance of the illusory 
nature of all emotional contact between 
persons, from which it follows that 
objective perception is only a relative 
term, referring to something that loses 
meaning as soon as it is out of step 
with the corresponding process of sub¬ 
jective apperception, or of creativity. 

I know this is a very personal 
phrasing, but through it I can perhaps 
convey the idea that there are im¬ 
portant things to be learned from 
twins that can help with the study of 
the roots of sanity and insanity. Prob¬ 
ably it is once again psycho-analysis 
rather than direct observation that can 
give what is needed here. I have had 
two patients in long analysis who were 
twins, and in each case it was for a 
disturbance that was established prior 
to the stage of the Oedipus complex 
that my help was sought. 

Mrs. Burlingham will easily support 


BOOK REVIEWS 

analytic study that must go with and 
elucidate direct observation. I know 
she has had a great deal of experience 
of twins that is not referred to in this 
book. 

Ihis, which I have written by 
stretching my neck while standing on 
the platform that is her book, in no 
way modifies my opinion of the book, 
which is that it has no twin. 

D. W. Winnicott 

Secondary School Entrance 
Examinations. Second Interim 
Report. National Foundation for 
Education Research, Publication 
No. 6. (Newnes , 3/6). 

This is an outstandingly thorough 
and clear report. Boldly set out at the 
beginning of the book is a summary of 
the contents. This states that the 
procedures now commonly used to 
allocate children to secondary schools 
are the best yet devised but shows the 
weaknesses in discriminating, through 
examinations, between children who 
are near the borderline for grammar- 
school entrance. The difficulties are 
aggravated by the influence that 
coaching and practice can have on 
intelligence test scores. Important 
recommendations made in the sum¬ 
mary include one that universal coach- 


57 

ing should not be adopted ‘it is both 
undesirable and unnecessary’, and 
another that borderline candidates 
should be educated along broadly 
similar lines whether they go to 
grammar or modern schools. 

After the summary, the report gives 
details of investigations showing that 
increases in test scores can be produced 
by special preparation. Gains of ten 
points were not uncommon and there 
is a challenging reflection that differen¬ 
tial coaching can change the position 
at the borderline of nearly 2 per cent, 
of the children examined; correspond¬ 
ing to about 5 per cent, of those 
actually entering grammar school 
where places are available for 15 per 
cent, of the age group. 

Perhaps the most interesting re¬ 
search was that carried out by the 
Foundation’s officers in an area where 
749 children went on to the modern 
schools and five months later had a 
second attempt at passing grammar 
school entrance examinations while 266 
children near in age remained in the 
primary schools for their second 
attempt. On this second test, the 
primary school children increased their 
scores, but the modern school children 
did less well than before. The report 
points out that there are two important 
issues to consider: ‘One concerns the 
awarding of grammar school places to 


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In Woods and Fields 

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Book II 

Gardens and the Waterside 

2/6 

Book III 

Town and Country 

2/8 


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THE NEW ERA 


58 

suitable over-age candidates in modern 
schools; the other concerns the validity 
of the assumption that the performance 
of children in modern objective tests 
will be unaffected by differences in the 
curricula they follow.' These are 
serious issues. They suggest that local 
education authorities arc not genuinely 
offering a second chance for grammar 
school entrance if modern school chil¬ 
dren arc being assessed by the same 
criteria as children still in primary 
schools. More serious is the threat to 
sound educational practice in primary 
schools if schools concentrate on 
preparation for standardized tests. 

The suggestion that there should be 
further investigation of methods of 
assessment other than standardized 
tests is very welcome. In spite of its 
soothing introduction, the report in¬ 
evitably challenges thought on school 
organization and curricula as well as 
on the value of tests, and now we look 
for guidance on observing the interplay 
of seemingly untestable attributes of 
personality and aspects of environ¬ 
ment, including incentives, that help 
children to benefit from our varying 
forms of secondary education. 

Joan Andrews 

The Psychoanalytic Study of 
the Child. Volumes VI and VII. 
(Imago Publishing Co. Ltd. 40 /- 

each volume.) 

Both these valuable volumes contain 
material which is of interest to all 
educators, especially those with a 
psycho-analytic orientation. My in¬ 
tention here is to refer to those articles 
which are specifically concerned with 
the learning processes. 

Volume VI 

Ernst Kris, in his Opening Remarks 
on Psychoanalytic Child Psychology 
(p. 9) gives a short historical survey of 
child psychology, and speaks of 
recent and ‘more consistent attempts 
to supplement data gathered from 
analysis of children and adults by data 
of direct observation of the child during 
the early stages of development’. 
Observations by non-analytic ob¬ 
servers, are valuable, he says, 'where 
growth and maturational processes 
arc concerned’, but research into the 
child’s social adjustment, where the 
inevitable conflicts which arise during 
growth concern the child in relation to 
his environment, is valid only if it 
applies itself to the child and his 
environment as a whole. Much of the 
‘pure research’ which many psycho¬ 
logists overstress is carried out in an 
unnatural and controlled environment. 
Dr. Kris mentions, for example, 
Gescll’s pure research with co-twins, 
on which our knowledge of speech 


development is largely based, and 
which was gained in an artificial 
enviroment, with the twins separated 
from each other and from their families, 
one twin’s speech being ‘stimulated’, 
the other twin being placed with 
silent adults. 

Dr. Kris points to many important 
gaps in our knowledge. Which educa¬ 
tional methods, what mixture of in¬ 
dulgence and deprivation, are most 
efficacious; how soon is it possible to 
tell that the child’s development is 
going astray; what therapy best fits 
each age level and its disturbances; 
how far do latency, puberty and adoles¬ 
cence help in themselves to counteract 
earlier deviations from the normal 
path of development? (In Volume 
VII, both Hartmann and Anna Freud 
suggest that in spite of early depriva¬ 
tions, later maturational and other 
processes may do much to repair the 
deficiency.) 

Following Dr. Kris in Volume VI, 
Anna Freud gives some Observations 
on Child Development (p. 18) made at 
the residential Hampstead Nurseries 
in London during the last war. Here 
the staff were trained to be as objective 
as possible in their observations, while 
at the same time entering into strong 
relationships with the deprived chil¬ 
dren. These were, as expected, over- 
aggressive; but it became evident 
that because they lacked the emo¬ 
tional stimulus of a mother-relation¬ 
ship their aggressive drives w r ere 
wxaker, not stronger, than normal; 
and that it was only when the nurses 
were able to make good relationships 
with them, that the aggression could 
become fused with their love, and thus 
reduced to normal manifestations. 
Miss Freud quotes several more 
observations which throw new light on 
the development of the young child, 
and makes the important suggestion 
that 'social reactions, restraint of im¬ 
mediate gratification of instinct and 
an adaptation to the reality principle’ 
can be acquired either under the 
influence of love for and identification 
with parents or in a community of 
children of the same age 'on the basis 
of the necessity of maintaining one’s 
own status and existence in the group’. 
In another article (p. 127) Miss Freud 
and Miss Dann develop this theme, 
describing six refugee children observed 
for a year after their arrival in England 
at the age of three. They had been 
totally deprived of mother-love from 
birth or soon after, uprooted numerous 
times and sent finally to a concentra¬ 
tion camp before coming to England. 
They w'ere hypersensitive, restless, 
aggressive, difficult to handle, but 
neither defective delinquent nor 
psychotic. Yet for a long time after 
their arrival here they made no 
relationships with adults, and (except 


March 1953 

in one case) had obviously never 
done so. The saving factor seemed to 
be their love for and identification 
with each other, apparently similar to 
that between twins. They were able 
to develop social attitudes and post¬ 
pone gratifications apparently on this 
basis of group acceptance. 

Berta Bernstein (p. 279) most use¬ 
fully divides the fascinating period of 
latency into two halves, the first 
(which takes in the ICnglish first school 
year) from about five-and-a-half to 
eight, the second from eight to ten. 
During the first half she expects vacil¬ 
lation between obedience and rebellion, 
with a good deal of intermittent self- 
reproach and anxiety. She suggests 
that it is not until eight or thereabouts 
that the child’s ego can cope com¬ 
fortably with reality (as his instinctive 
drives become less demanding and 
his superego less rigid), and that he is 
really ready to be influenced by adults 
other than his parents, and by his 
companions in the group. 

Volume VII 

The newly recognized importance 
of direct observational data mentioned 
by Dr. Kris in Volume VI, is still 
more evident in Volume VII. There is 
first (p. 9) a theoretical discussion by 
Hartmann, Hoffer, Anna F'reud, 
Melanie Klein and others of the inter¬ 
action of ego and id which is so vital 
to the learning processes of the child. 
Anna F'reud mentions tw r o successful 
methods of teaching backward chil¬ 
dren: first, using only images and 
concepts which appeal directly to the 
child’s emotions and thus stimulate his 
intellect, and second, enriching his 
emotional life so that he is better able, 
presumably, to control what intellec¬ 
tual apparatus he possesses. She says 
later, ‘the children of our generation 
are brought up more leniently than 
before and, consequently, seem to 
take longer before they establish a 
firm ego structure.’ (This perhaps 
links with Berta Bomstein’s article in 
Volume VI, mentioned above, where 
the fluctuations of early latency are 
described, and with Christine Olden’s 
article to be mentioned below.) 

Dr. Gerald Pearson’s Learning 
Difficulties (p. 322) is extremely 

valuable, though unfortunately he 
appears to have written hurriedly and 
revised carelessly. He contradicts 
himself at times, some of his categorical 
statements are questionable, his numer¬ 
ous sections overlap, and it is irritating 
to find, for example, supra-cndow'ed 
children and their problems under 
‘Organic Disorders’! Nevertheless, it 
is a most helpful and comprehensive 
document. More than half the long 
article (Sections V and VI) is taken 
up with rarities, extremely disturbed 
children in need of prolonged psychi- 


March 1953 


BOOK REVIEWS 


59 


NEW EDUCATION FELLOWSHIP CONFERENCE 

2nd—16th AUGUST, 1953 
at 

THE FOLK HIGH SCHOOL, ASKOV, VEJEN, DENMARK 
Theme: ‘ The Teacher and his Work ’ 

rhe dim of this Conference is to gi\e members an opportunity of creative experience in small groups under 
the inspiration of men and women, expert in their own fields and selected for their skill in transmitting their 
enthusiasms to others. The Conference is not to he regarded as providing a series of refresher courses in 
teaching methods hut rather as helping teachers to look at themselves and their work. 

Why this new technique? There are four reasons:— 

(i) Teachers spend their working lives in giving out information and adjudicating between right and wrong 
in pupil response; 

(ii) This is destructive of their own creative and emotional energy; 

(iii) Even in a relatively short period, such as is provided by a conference, they can find re-creation, given a 
good variety of creative activities to choose from and really skilled and encouraging Group Leaders; 
and 

(iv) The release engendered by the creative experience results in increased intellectual clarity which manifests 
itself in subsequent discussion. 

The total cost of the Conference, apart from travel, will be approximately (at current exchange rates):— 

BELGIUM, fr. 1,584; BRITISH COMMONWEALTH, £11 sterling; DENMARK, Kr. 220; 
EGYPT, Pst. 1,100; FRANCE, fr. 11,000; GERMANY, DM. 128.70; HOLLAND, FI. 
118.25; ITALY, 19,800 L.; NORWAY, Kr. 220; SWEDEN, Kr. 160; SWITZERLAND, 
fr. 135.30; U.S.A., $30.80. 

Programme and application form from your National Secretary of the New Education Fellowship or from 
the International Secretary, Mr. J. B. Annand, M.A., 1 Park Crescent, London, W.I., England. 


atric help. The remaining sections, 
discussed below, describe the more 
frequent and less serious learning 
difficulties and their causes. 

The effects of fatigue and illness 
(‘Organic Disorders’, p. 323) on chil¬ 
dren are fairly obvious. Less obvious 
is the vicious circle produced by intel¬ 
lectual deficiency: identification with 
parents is retarded, infantile anxieties 
are therefore prolonged because the 
child has not the capacity to deal with 
them, and this pressure of anxiety 
further weakens his progress, so that 
parents tend to become less fond and 
proud, which again holds him back. 
Treatment mainly consists, as Anna 
Freud also pointed out, in correcting 
this ‘starvation for love’. Treatment 
of the supra-endowed child who tends 
to stop trying through boredom con¬ 
sists in ‘grading with children of equal 
intellectual endowment but of the 
same chronological age'. But howl 
And is this really the way? 

Sections II and III (p. 328, p. 331) 
overlap to a great extent. Dr. Pearson 
reviews methods of teaching which 
utilize the child’s tendency to seek 
pleasure and avoid pain. Bribing, 
he says, either by actual rewards or 
by making the lessons so interesting 
that they are pleasurable, is to-day 
(in America) somewhat discounted; 
yet marks, promotions and so on, 


which the child sees less as signs of 
achievement than as indications of 
the teacher’s love, have their value in 
the learning process. The child does 
not learn for the sake of learning, but 
in order to obtain and retain affection; 
a subject may become distasteful and 
even unlearnable if it is connected with 
a hated teacher. If this occurs during 
the early stages of acquiring a subject, 
the child may become progressively 
more unable to master it; but if he has 
special coaching from a loved teacher 
so that he regains interest and catches 
up with the class, his specific disability 
can often be dealt with in time. 
Teachers who try to associate not 
learning with pain (punishment or dis¬ 
approval) may find the method mis¬ 
carry for the same reasons. 

Dr. Pearson reminds us that in 
primitive cultures the small boy can 
early and easily identify himself with 
his father’s activities (e.g. making nets 
for fishing) and strive to emulate and 
surpass him in these: in Western 
culture it is hard for the boy to see 
why learning to read and multiply is 
essential for the office work he knows 
so little about, and therefore ‘the 
teacher stands as a link between the 
child’s wish to identify himself with 
the parent of the same sex and the use 
of this identification’ as a reason for 
academic learning. The sex of the 


teacher seems to have a bearing here 
(though Dr. Pearson only stresses it 
later in connection with extremely dis¬ 
turbed children): surely even infant 
school boys need a mixed staff so that 
they can legitimately identify with a 
male teacher? 

Section IV (p. 335) discusses dis- 
tractibility, day-dreaming, and the 
focussing of attention exclusively on 
learning so that the function of 
making relationships is impaired. 

Finally (since I have to omit the 
two long sections on deeply disturbed 
children) Dr. Pearson (Section VII, 
p. 383) discusses the child who comes 
from what appears to be a ‘good 
home', but who cannot learn easily. 
Toilet training has been slow and easy 
for him, sexual curiosity and exhibi¬ 
tionism have been allowed: by a mis¬ 
application of Freud’s findings, the 
child has not yet learned to tolerate 
frustration of desires, and his ego- 
development is therefore retarded. 
Yet through affection for a good and 
patient teacher, the child can gradually 
subordinate his own wishes to the 
requirements of reality and of learning. 

That this last problem seems to be 
more universal in America than in 
England is stressed in ‘Notes on Child 
Rearing in America' (p. 387) by 

Christine Olden. This throws light on 
many American characteristics and 










THE NEW ERA 


60 

explains why some of the other atticlcs 
in this Volume (most of which are 
American) stress by careful study 
certain behaviour problems such as 
the child who cannot tolerate frustra¬ 
tion, and the aggressive child. Miss 
Olden asks why psycho-analytic prin¬ 
ciples have been accepted so readily 
in the U.S.A., and why the permissive 
aspects have there overshadowed the 
others. She finds her answers in 
history and in the effects of immigra¬ 
tion to a young country’. She sees in 
America now a tendency to turn away 
from progressive education, and 
stresses the need to improve rather 
than abandon it. Though, thanks to 
Anna Freud, Susan Isaacs and others, 
this warning against an over-strong 
swing of the pendulum towards re¬ 
action and suppression should be un¬ 
necessary in England, it is nevertheless 
timely. 

Many other articles are of interest 
to educators, Leo Spiegel (Vol. VI, 
p. 375) on Adolescence; Margaret 
Harries (Vol. VII, p. 230) describing 
how four aggressive four-year-olds in 
a London nursery school solved the 
problem for themselves (and for their 
teachers) by sublimatory games; and 
a stimulating description by Linde- 
mann and Dawes of a preventive 
psychiatry project now being carried 
out in a Boston suburb, which takes 
in all sections of the community and is 
following the children from the ante¬ 
natal clinics through their lives. In 
this last article there is evidence that 
bears out the impression gained from 
reading both these Volumes under 
review—that education, psychology 
and psycho-analysis are fast reaching 
a stage where they will find themselves 
not merely within hailing distance of 
each other but able to co-operate fully 
in preventive as well as therapeutic 
work for the good of the children and 
mankind in general. 

Margaret Duncan 

Pioneers of English Education. 

Edited by A. V . Judges (Faber & 
Faber, 25/-). 

Ostensibly a series of lectures 
delivered in King’s College, London, 
on the life and thought of such 
nineteenth-century pioneers as Owen, 
Bentham and Mill, Spencer, Newman 
and Matthew Arnold, this book turns 
out to be a brilliant description of the 
social and intellectual climate of 
England during the last century, and 
of its influence on the thought and 
practice of English education. Indeed, 
it may even be called an outline of the 
development of our educational tradi¬ 
tion during the last 150 years; for the 
first chapter contains an admirable 
analysis by the Vice-Chancellor of 


Bristol University of this tradition 
with its insistence on the value of 
individual initiative and of diversity, 
and the last is an acute examination 
by the Permanent Secretary to the 
Ministry of Education of how the 
modern administrator is trying to 
reconcile such a belief in individuality 
with the necessity of social control. 

For these two additions to the 
subject-matter of the book we must 
thank the insight of the editor, who 
has not only written a valuable intro¬ 
ductory chapter, summarizing the 
contribution of each pioneer, and con¬ 
tributed an illuminating chapter on 
Kay-Shuttlcworth himself, but has also 
secured a first-class team of lecturers, 
nearly all of whom are fully in sym¬ 
pathy with the positive achievements 
and views of the pioneers they discuss. 

Apart from the three lectures already 
mentioned, two in particular stand out 
—those devoted to the two natural 
foils, as the editor calls them, of the 
Victorian era—Spencer and Newman. 
Professor Lauwerys gives a picture of 
Spencer which in no way diminishes 
his appeal or his stature by an acknow¬ 
ledgment of the unoriginal and one¬ 
sided nature of his thought; while Mr. 
Beales’ glowing account of Newman 
leaves us more than ever certain that 
he was one of the greatest minds of his 
age and, perhaps, to use the editor’s 
words, the most typically English of 
them all. 

This is not a book for everyman, as 
it needs close and careful reading, but 
no better volume could be put into the 
hands of Training Colleg'e students, 
who desire to understand the higher 
purposes of education and how they 
have affected English educational 
thought and practice during the last 
150 years. It can also be warmly 
recommended to foreign students of 
English life, since it shows more clearly 
perhaps than any other contemporary 
document certain of the sources of 
England's greatness—its belief in the 
value of individual insights and 
initiative, and its cult of diversity, 
which is much more than a mere 
toleration, since, as Sir Philip Morris 
writes here, it 'regards an institution 
as being all the stronger because it 
includes not only a variety of people 
but also differences in ideas and beliefs’. 

Wyatt Rawson 

TWO NEW BOOKS ON 
MUSIC 

The Grammar of Music Hilda 
Hunter. (Dennis Dobson. 6/-). 

Melody Writing and Analysis 

Annie Warburton. ( Longman’s 
Green. 9/6). 


March 1953 

Conveniently brief, The Grammar 
of Music is compact and covers the 
rudiments in a thorough and interest¬ 
ing manner. It is written for those 
intent on starting at the beginning of 
the subject. There are some useful 
chapters on melody making and 
writing, while the appendices con¬ 
tain a neatly tabulated list of foreign 
terms and a list of works for study. 
The presentation of subjects would, 
however, have been greatly simplified 
and improved by more musical ex¬ 
amples and quotations. The examples 
of ornaments and their interpretation 
suffer from inconsistent labelling and 
grouping. The facsimile reproductions 
of very brief extracts from scores 
which are included are difficult to read 
— a pity in a book designed to attract 
and enlighten beginners. 

Dr. Warburton has produced in 
Melody Writing and Analysis a text 
for students working up to the higher 
theory examinations of the Associated 
Board of the Royal Schools of Music 
or for musical diplomas. It is a guide 
for those who wish to know how to 
compose or analyse a melody and 
covers in considerable detail ground 
only lightly touched upon by other 
writers on music. The carefully graded 
parts of this volume cover all phases 
of melody writing, w’ith and without 
words, from two-bar phrases to long 
irregular stanzas and blank verse. One 
particularly useful chapter deals ex¬ 
pertly with the difficulties of setting 
words to a melody. The work is 
rounded off by two chapters which 
expound quite clearly melody analysis 
and the analysis of short piano pieces, 
entire movements being printed in 
notation which is readily legible. 
Throughout there are many well- 
explained illustrations and well-graded 
exercises. 

Alan C. Streater 


Good Company. Mary Field. 
( Longman’s Green & Co. 12/6). 

The story of the Children’s Enter¬ 
tainment Film Movement in Great 
Britain from 1943 to 1950 could be 
told only by Miss Field, and needs to 
be known by all who wish to have 
recreational films for children produced 
with adequate regard to the welfare of 
their vast audiences. The 'combined 
operations’ of the Advisory Council 
and C.E.F.—a department of G.B. 
Instructional which had no fixed abode 
and once at least had to be very 
discreet about its parentage in the 
matter of ‘credit titles'—exemplify the 
difficulties in public relations which 
beset educationists in any sphere. Over 
and again one realized that the idea 
of this work was J. Arthur Rank’s and 


BOOK REVIEWS 


March 1953 

that he never lost faith in it. Similarly 
the skill and tenacity of Lady Allen of 
Hurtwood in the Chair of the Advisory 
Council are clearly seen in every 
vicissitude. Only Miss Field’s personal 
contributions to solving the problems 
and especially to using fully every 
opportunity for international reci¬ 
procity are glossed over. 

We see why it took six years to make 
twenty-one feature films, forty-three 
on ‘travel’ or ‘nature’ subjects, sixty- 
seven magazine films, and some half- 
dozen each of ‘cartoon’, ‘interest’, 
and ‘community song’ films. Some idea 
of the size of the problem can be 
gained by asking a group of youngsters 
now 14 to 15 (two years after the com¬ 
pletion of the above production pro¬ 
gramme) how many of these films they 
have actually seen. With due caution 
these replies may be contrasted with 
the number of times they claim (or 
admit) to have attended cinema per¬ 
formances, (a) public, and (b) chil¬ 
dren’s, since they were eight. 

One of the main difficulties will not 
surprise teachers who have attempted 
to foster ‘citizenship’ and who have 
therefore faced that most challenging 
of all educational problems, how to 
appeal to the better side of the child’s 
nature without pointing a moral so 
sharply as to hold up action or deflate 
interest. ‘We agreed that all our films 
should have a documentary back¬ 
ground, w'hile the moral was to be 
implied rather than underlined, though 
it was by no means to be aban¬ 
doned.' 

It is to be hoped that its title—from 
Henry VIII’s Madrigal, Jocund in Good 
Company —will not prevent this book’s 
coming to the notice of the many types 
of reader to whom it is addressed. The 
‘concerned’ and the ‘critical’ no less 
than the well-meaning will be helped 
to think more clearly and work more 
effectively in the cause of assuring 
good cinema for the young by reading 
this skilful and commendably ‘light’ 
handling of "what is so often treated as 
a sombre subject. Yet it is the result 
of really serious work on the effects of 
films shown to young people and on 
the kinds of cinema material which 
they need and appreciate. These 
studies went on both before and during 
the efforts of the Rank C.E.F. team to 
reconcile Miss Field’s findings with the 
material and technical problems in¬ 
volved in producing, distributing, and 
showing children’s films to child 
audiences. Her records of her own and 
her colleagues’ reactions to the prob¬ 
lems involved in making films for 
children are also very informative and 
helpful to those of us concerned to take 
some part in helping the young to 
‘appreciate’ the art of the cinema 
generally. 

Ernest L. Fereday 


YOUNGSTERS IN 
YORKSHIRE 

Local History for the Family 
in Three Books 
By E. M. FLETCHER 

First Journey—TO THE WEST 

Second Journey—TO THE NORTH 

Third Journey—TO THE EAST 

7Rx 5}', profusely illustrated, school edition, 
limp cloth covers, 4/6 each. Also supplied in 
cloth boards, 6/6 net each. Post free 5/- and 
7/- respectively or 14/6 and 20/6 the three 
books. 

The historical stories unfolded during these 
three caravan holidays of exploration show 
the important part which the history of York¬ 
shire plays in the history of our Country as a 
whole. The conversational and homely style 
so ingeniously employed by the author, with 
the children speaking naturally, induces in the 
minds of the young readers a personal friend¬ 
ship with the characters in the books. 

Please write for illustrated pamphlet 

A. BROWN & SONS, Ltd. 

32 Brooke St., Holborn, London, E.C.t. 


Reviews of the following books will 
appear shortly:— 

Phantasy in Childhood, Audrey 
Davidson and Judith Fay 

(Routledge & Kegan Paul) 
Achievement in Education, Lynda 
Grier (Constable) 

The Pilot Reading Scheme, Pat 
Devonport (E. J. Arnold) 

Pathfinder Introductory Set, A, B. 
and C. (Oliver & Boyd) 


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 

Dear Madam, 

I am most grateful to Miss Catty for 
her review of my book From Day to 
Day in the Infant School, which you 
include in your recent publication of 
The New Era. 

In general I agree with her remarks, 
especially with regard to the un¬ 
desirability of assuming that children 
in many schools are likely to wish to 
use material in exactly the same 
manner as children in another school. 
Her suggestion that a teacher might 
think it right to tell her children to use 
material in this manner cuts across the 
whole aim of the best modern Infants 
School education. 

Miss Catty is aware of this danger 
when she discusses the harm which may 
be done by teaching number to children 
under 7 and 8 years of age. She appears 
to think that 1 favour such early 
teaching to all children. In the final 
chapter of my book, which I feel Miss 
Catty did not read in detail, I em¬ 
phasize the impossibility of teaching a 
child at any age before the mind is 
ready for such teaching, and give 
diagrams to illustrate differences in 
children of similar age whom I have 


61 

actually known and whose work I have 
followed. The Daily Programmes on 
pages 50 and 51 make no suggestions 
for teacher-initiated compulsory teach¬ 
ing during Infant School days. How¬ 
ever, the fact remains that many 
children are ready and anxious to 
record, read, write and do simple 
number work before 7 years of age. 

1 hey also possess a real awareness of 
such mathematical values as height, 
length, weight, greater and less. 

It seems to me that we cannot decide 
what is to be taught by simply taking 
note of chronological age. There are 
other factors to take into account, 
especially in relation to individual 
differences such as out-of-school en¬ 
vironment, older and younger brothers 
and sisters, interests of parents and, 
above all, individual mental age. 

Finally, I agree with Miss Catty that 
nothing can justify a teacher for 
engaging in ‘laborious making’ of 
apparatus. Most of the material which 
I suggest can be bought from recog¬ 
nized School Supply firms. However, 
many teachers like to make some 
material more particularly suited to 
the needs of their children. This is 
good, especially when the children 
themselves give some assistance, how¬ 
ever small this may be. 

It seems to me that one of the chief 
duties of a teacher of young children 
is to endeavour to keep herself happy, 
fresh and alert, in order that she may 
be a worthwhile friend and leader of 
those under her charge. Her business 
is to follow and assist the development 
of suitable interests which have been 
begun by the child and not by the 
teacher. She should know when to 
help and when to leave well alone. 
Under such conditions there is little 
danger of mental or emotional frustra¬ 
tion, but rather a condition of rejoicing 
over achievement and mutual success. 

Yours faithfully, 

F. Irene Serjeant 


Dear Madam, 

I was rather disturbed to find in the 
opening article of your January issue 
constant references to ‘Speech 'therapy 
and the ‘Speech Therapist’ when the 
subject of the article was so obviously 
Speech Training and the Speech Trainer. 
It may seem to be a small difference, 
but the whole article gives a most 
misleading idea of the work of a Speech 
Therapist, and the mistake should, 1 
feel, be corrected. A Speech Therapist’s 
work is purely medical and would never 
‘correct regional accents’ etc. 

I would be grateful if something 
could be done about this. 

Yours faithfully, 

M. M. Jameson (Miss), 

Press Officer to the College of 
Speech Therapists 







62 


THE NEW ERA 


March 1953 


NATIONAL FROEBEL FOUNDATION 
CHARACTER BUILDING AND THE NEW EDUCATION 


The idea of this conference arose 
from conversations with teachers and 
other workers with children who were 
concerned at the difficulties facing 
children and adolescents in the modern 
world. Shifting moral standards, com¬ 
peting ideologies and the changed 
climate of opinion regarding the 
relative roles of authority and indi¬ 
vidual responsibility have all combined 
to make the task of the educator more 
difficult, and it is hoped that an oppor¬ 
tunity to discuss some of these prob¬ 
lems with other people engaged in 
similar work will be both stimulating 
and helpful. 

The plan for the course will be: 
Friday, March 6th — 7.30 — 9 p.m.: 


Professor Niblett (Institute of Edu¬ 
cation, Leeds University) will outline 
some of the influences which tend to 
depersonalize living nowadays and 
will suggest ways in w'hich the 
schools can meet the challenge. 

Saturday, March 7th— 

10 a.m.—12.30: 

Dr. Cleugh (Institute of Education, 
London University) will give a short 
talk intended to stimulate dis¬ 
cussion. The conference will break 
up into small groups which will 
report their findings at the end of 
the morning. 

2.30—4.30 p.m.: 

Miss Shewell Cooper (formerly lec¬ 
turer in Divinity at Wandsw'orth 


Training College and recently 
Warden of a hostel for working girls 
in Folkestone) will summarize the 
points raised during the week-end. 
The lectures and discussions will be 
held at the National Frocbel Founda¬ 
tion, 2 Manchester Square, W.l. 

The fees for the course arc 13/6 for 
members of the FYocbcl Foundation 
and 15/- for non-members. Cheques 
should be made payable to the National 
Frocbel Foundation and inquiries 
addressed to the Conference Secretary. 
N.B . — This course is limited to Chil¬ 
dren's Officers, County Organizers, 
Heads of Children’s Homes, Schools 
and Clubs, Probation Officers and 
Training College Lecturers. 


Directory of Schools 


KILQUHANITY HOUSE 

CASTLE DOUGLAS SCOTLAND 

FOR BOYS AND GIRLS 3-18 YEARS 

Established in 1940, Kilquhanity House 
frankly owes its inception to the work of 
A. S. Neill, who now considers it in the 
direct line of his own school and that of 
Homer Lane. It does not, however, cater 
for problem children. In practice there 
is an attempt to combine the traditional 
thoroughness of Scottish education with 
self-government for the pupils. Activity 
methods are used throughout, and the 
teaching staff is qualified to the standards 
demanded by the Scottish Education 
Department, which inspects the school. 
There is ample opportunity for practice 
in all the creative arts. A small mixed 
farm is a fundamental part — as distinct 
from an adjunct — of the school. The 
diet is on food reform lines, though chil¬ 
dren do not require to be vegetarian. 

Fees: £150-£180 PER ANNUM 

J. M. AITKENHEAD, M.A. (Horn.), Ed.B 

• 

DARTINGTON HALL 

TOTNES DEVON 

Headmaster: W. B. CURRY, M.A., B.Sc. 

A co-educational boarding school for 
boys and girls from 7-18 in the centre of 
a 2,000 acre estate engaged in the 
scientific development of rural industries. 
The school gives to Arts and Crafts, 
Dance, Drama and Music the special 
attention customary in progressive 
schools, and combines a modern outlook 
which is non-sectarian and inter¬ 
national with a free and informal 
atmosphere. It aims to establish the 
high intellectual and academic stan¬ 
dards of the best traditional schools. 

Fees: £210-^260 per annum. 

Scholarships are sometimes available, 
and further information about these 
may be obtained from the Headmaster. 

WENNINGT0N SCHOOL 

WETHERBY. 

Founded 1940. Boys and Girls, 8 18 

A new type of Boarding School, well-organised 
and efficient without losing the family quality 
of life. Wholesome vigorous community pro¬ 
viding a training in disciplined co-operation 
and practical social responsibility. Well balanced 
curriculum. Graduate teachers. 

KENNETH C. BARNES, B.Sc. 


BADMINTON SCHOOL 

WESTBURY-ON-TRYM BRISTOL 

A Public School for Girls situated in large 
grounds three miles from the centre of Bristol. 
Boarders are taken from the age of 7. A 
high standard of scholarship is maintained, 
while at the same time interest in Music 
and the Arts is encouraged. Importance is 
attached to the study of current affairs and 
to the development of an international outlook. 

























THE NEW ERA 

IN HOME AND SCHOOL 

A WELCOME TO DENMARK 

Toben Gregerson , Secretary of the N.E.F. Danish Section 


I T is difficult to write anything brief and pithy 
about one’s own country, though some foreign 
travellers seem to be willing to try to do so 
after a three days’ trip. But I will try to write 
a little about Denmark in order to welcome there 
all our friends who will come to Askov from the 
2nd-16th August. 

Denmark is a country without great contrasts, 
in scenery, in economics, in education. The 
whole of Denmark is densely populated; in all 
districts you will find cottages and farms close 
together and numerous village schools between. 
Therefore, many people think that most Danes 
are farmers with wooden shoes and national 
costumes. They will be very disappointed ! 

Bacon, butter and eggs are famous products of 
Denmark, but Denmark is also a land of heavy 
and, especially, light industry, with big shipping 
yards, textile factories and a chemical industry— 
all based on raw materials that have to be im¬ 
ported. Perhaps this says something for the 
energies and talents of her people. 

Fortunately, two persons from this country are 
generally known abroad: Hans Andersen (in 
Denmark called H. C. Andersen), author of the 
fairy tales, and N. F. S. Grundtvig, the father 
of the folk high schools—the only part of Danish 
education known by educators over the whole 
world. It is to be hoped that our guests will find 
a little of the spirit of these two famous Danes 
when they come to Denmark. 

In Askov it will be easier than elsewhere to 
understand what Grundtvig means to us. Askov 
is our biggest and most famous folk high school— 
the continuation of the first Danish Folk High 
School, founded in Rpdding in 1844, moved to 
Askov in 1865 after Schleswig was taken by 
Germany. Most folk high schools are based on 
‘the living (spoken) word’, in contradistinction to 
the old bookish school, the academic school (the 
‘black school’ as Grundtvig called it). In Askov 
a tradition has grown up, based on a lively blend¬ 


ing of rural and academic culture. Not without 
reasons is Askov Folk High School called ‘the peo¬ 
ple’s university’. Famous Danish scientists and 
writers have been teachers there and have given 
Askov a special place in Danish cultural life. 

To understand the educational situation in 
Denmark you must know a little of the history 
of the Danish school and education. The Educa¬ 
tion Act of 1814 demanded seven years’ schooling. 
It allowed the parents themselves to teach their 
children, but this right is now claimed very rarely. 
For many years past no illiteracy has been 
observable in Denmark. After the seven com¬ 
pulsory years, the pupils can go on to further 
education, and here you will find the first point 
of dispute in Danish school-life to-day. After 
five years you must decide whether you will go 
on to the examination-free middle school or 
whether you will sit for an examination and, 
if successful, go to the examination type of middle 
school. The latter can be either a municipal 
school (kommuneskole), or private (but with 
government support), or a secondary school (either 
municipal, private or state school). This division 
of the able and less able children in the middle 
school is the easier solution (the cleverer pupils 
alone can go in for the middle school examination 
and the best of them go on to the ‘gymnasium’). 
But many teachers and parents who are ‘N.E.F.- 
minded’ are against this form of organization and 
prefer the idea of the ‘undivided’ school—a single 
school for all pupils, from which the clever ones, 
after the nine years, can pass the middle school 
examination but where, meanwhile, all are taught 
together. 

The second point of dispute is individual 
teaching, as described by Carleton Washburne in 
Adjusting the School to the Child —a book trans¬ 
lated into Danish and of very great importance 
for progressive Danish teachers. After some not 
quite successful experiments using old-fashioned 
text-books, many Danish teachers started writing 







I HE NEW ERA 


K4 

new books especially for the first three or four 
school years (seven to ten years), and now many 
teachers arc using individual teaching methods 
to a greater or lesser degree. 

The Danish Section of the N.E.F. works on 
many themes besides those just mentioned 
(museum-school is one of the latest). I wo 
factors have been of the greatest value for us: 

(1) The tradition of our kindergartens is more 
progressive than the school tradition. A very big 
proportion of our kindergarten teachers are 
members of ‘Socialpaedagogisk Forening' (Social- 
pedagogical Association, the Section’s name) but 
unfortunately the kindergartens are not part of 
the Danish education system but of the social 
security system. Education in the kindergarten 
has, however, influenced both aesthetic education 
in the schools for older children (painting, pottery, 
dancing and music) and the establishment of 
parent-teacher co-operation. 

(2) The growing interest in school psychology 
during the last twenty years. All over the 
country now school psychologists are working, 
especially in the bigger towns. They are teachers 
with three years’ university training in psycho¬ 
logy, working with the backward children (Cyril 
Burt really is the grandfather of Danish school 
psychology) with psycho-therapy, and also with 
planning and putting into practice experimental 
work in the schools. 


April 1953 

The very well arranged School Psychological 
service makes good, in a sense, the lack of 
professors of education. Denmark has no lecturer 
in education at either of her universities. The 
educational research work is done by the Danish 
Committee of School Psychology (founded by 
the teachers’ associations) with very little money, 
but with high enthusiasm and plenty of ideas. 

I have two warnings for you: do not ask a 
Danish teacher or headmaster about his educa¬ 
tional philosophy. He is sure to say that he has 
none ! In Denmark most educators work accord¬ 
ing to ideas that are perhaps not so clear to them 
in theory, but that strongly affect their practice. 
Do not start a conversation with a Dane about 
group-feeling or group-spirit. He will say he 
has none. Of course he has, but we do not speak 
about it. 

I hope you will understand : with us educational 
theory is not so developed as is what I feel to 
to be a very sound practice. 

Finally, 1 must tell you a secret: behind the 
‘Danish politeness' (which foreigners tend to 
comment upon) all Danes — even the most 
radical — have a certain conviction that, after all, 
we have the best things here in Denmark. But 
nevertheless, we all are awfully interested to hear 
and experience all the ideas, thoughts and prac¬ 
tices of our friends. Short — you are so welcome 
in Denmark. 


POTTERY 1 — THE DEVELOPMENT OF SENSITIVENESS 

THROUGH A TRADITIONAL CRAFT 

Richard Dunning , Potter , City of Coventry Training College 


O UR starting point was a small square clay 
I tablet made in Ur of the Chaldees in 
1950-2000 b.c.; on its face are impressed 
marks, cuneiform writing symbols; on two of its 
sides are the finger-prints of the maker, made 
permanent by the fire of a simple kiln; but its 
back is defaced by a rough cavity where some 
bubble or scrap of stone burst in the heat of that 
same fire and marred the perfection of its surface. 
In this tablet we are reminded of these facts: 
clay is a plastic material which can be pressed 
easily into shape when softened by water but 
which, as it dries and hardens, holds the form 
given to it, together with any marks or indenta¬ 
tions made on its surface; by being made at least 
red-hot in a fire it can be given an awe-inspiring 


degree of permanence, both of the physical object 
and through it of an idea. At the same time, 
certain conditions must be fulfilled, or through 
neglect, insensitivity or carelessness, all may be 
ruined. Much work in pottery lies in finding how 
best both to master and conform to its rules; yet 
at the same time you are led to probe far back 
into the history of man’s early development, and 
the characteristics of each period are so recog¬ 
nizable that clay objects may often be used to 
date the other things found near them in archae¬ 
ological diggings. 

We began our work in clay by trying to allow 
the essential qualities of the material to dictate 

1 An account of the Pottery Group al the Euglish Section Conference, 
Coventry, August, 1952. 




April 1953 POTTERY—THE development of sensitiveness through a traditional craft 05 


to us the life and action which modelled forms 
should take. We tried to educate the sensitivity 
which lies almost lost in our finger-tipes by 
handling and feeling contemplatively a variety of 
materials—smooth cold glass, wood, hessian and 
silk, the crispness of paper, the convolutions of 
shells, and the harshness of wire wool and glass- 
paper. Blindfold, we took a piece of clay, dragging 
it with our fingers from its bin, and pounding it 
on a tile at a table at which we sat, then, thought¬ 
fully, we began to push, to pull and to pinch the 
clay into a more deliberate form. Dismissing 
from our minds, as far as we could notions of 
representation, we ran our fingers over the 
surfaces as we made them, asking, ‘Does this 
shape please my fingers ? Does it feel good ? 
What does it do to my imagination ?’ We found 
annoying interruptions to the passage of our 
finger-tips so we smoothed and stroked, or long 
dull stretches where punctuations were needed 
and we pulled out lumps or pushed holes deep 
into the mass accordingly—even right through. 
We tried to recognize as clearly as we could what 
we w r ere experiencing, and to picture what we had 
modelled before we took off our bandages. When 
we looked at our work most of us were surprised 
to find it smaller and less clearly defined than we 
had felt it to be. The primary appeal of a piece 
of pottery must be through touch, through 
handling and using, for our hands are more 
delicate judges than we know and much that is 
designed from a purely visual standpoint is bad 
when judged on the more fundamental level. This 
sense of touch, we saw, must be developed if our 
later work in pottery was to be honest and 
satisfying. This is not to say that the visual 
aspect was not to play a great part in our work— 
it played, in fact, an important part in our next 
experiments—we had merely to try to assess its 
value more accurately. 

We turned to discovering more fully the ways 
in which clay could—and could not—be used. 
We made patterns with clay on tiles, flat patterns 
for which, in a way, we could as well have used 
paint, combining large flat areas of pigment with 
loops, dots, spirals and straight lines and leaving 
other parts untouched. On such a pattern we 
tried out forms of surface texturing; we thought 
of the marks on the front of the tablet, so we used 
sticks, and shells, wire, the heads of nails and the 
threads of screws, and, thinking of the sides, we 
used our fingers to pinch the clay or tried the 


result of pressing woven fabrics and twisted cords 
into the soft surface. We later extended our 
designing further by raising our patterns to eye 
level and using them as bases on which to con¬ 
struct three-dimensional patterns. ‘Imagine’, it 
was suggested, ‘that you are insects on the edge 
of a field. Into what sort of landscape, based on 
this ground plan, would you walk with pleasure ?' 
We built walls and towers, balls and pinnacles of 
clay. 

In these two experiments we learned a good 
deal about our basic material; we found how 
easily it could be worked if it was in good con¬ 
dition, how thwarting it could be if it was too dry 
and how weak if too soft. We saw then that 
thin sections could not support any considerable 
weight (and how very vividly we remembered this 
later when some of our wet pots ‘sat down’); we 
learned, too, that a model too quickly and 
casually put together shrinks, cracks and dis¬ 
integrates in firing. 

Modelling this plastic material bore no likeness 
to sawing wood or chipping stone. Our products 
were, and only could be, clay. We had been able 
to impress marks on its surface with hand and 
tool and, as our work stood drying on the shelf, 
we could see that some aspect of our experience, 
character and culture had been made permanent. 

We came, then, to our early essays in the 
making of actual pots. Our first were pressed out 
of a round ball of clay by our thumbs and fingers 
as we rotated it in the hollow of one hand; others, 
later, were built up like baskets out of long rolls 
of clay, smoothed together on the inside and knit 
together outside by the rhythmic pattern of 
regular ‘smudges’ of thumb and finger. Some of 
the ‘pinched pots’ were decorated with impressed 
patterns, others by burnishing and incising. We 
followed, in both these types, traditions of the 
craft which are of vital importance. They are 
directly linked with and controlled by the limita¬ 
tions and disciplines inherent in the material, yet 
close adherence to them does not lead to narrow¬ 
ness of outlook for, so ancient is pottery and so 
manifold and varied its expression in various 
cultures, that the field is immensely wide. 

The common notion of the making of a pot is 
of a man seated at a rotating wheel producing 
superb shapes with evident ease from the ball of 
clay upon it. But there are more ways of using 
clay without the aid of the potter s wheel than 
there are with it, and we became aw r are that, since 




THE NEW EH A 


66 

work on the wheel involves a great many technical 
methods which we could not hope to master 
rapidly, we could offset our failures to achieve 
success there by further work in the ways we had 
learned already. 

Two kiln-loads of pots meant that almost 
everything we had made became permanent. It 
had been changed from clay through a few hours 
in the heat of the kiln, into a new substance. 
Here we stood again on the borderline of the 
mystical side of pottery; we entrusted our work 
to a seemingly destructive, yet in fact, recon¬ 
structive, force to achieve a new life, a phoenix 
myth within our experience. Some of our porous 
jx)ts were then dipped in glaze mixtures. We 
could hardly believe that the colours to which they 
dried—lemon yellow, liver and yellow-tinged grey, 
could become glazes as we knew them. They were 
again packed in the kiln and heated up more 
strongly until, looking through the spy-holes, our 
eyes could hardly stand the glare. We could see 
the shimmering outlines of our pots and wondered 
how they could stand the strain. The final excite¬ 
ment came on the last evening when, still very 
warm, they were unpacked, and lay on the table. 
In place of the dusty dryness of a porous flower¬ 
pot, there was the lustre of a glazed surface; gone 
were the crude colours of the raw glazes, to be 
replaced by transparent cream, green and brown. 
The colours of the slips, grey and brown in their 
first application and but little different in the first 
fired state, were blue, black, cream and tawny 
yellow. As the pots cooled we felt again the urge 
to pick them up, and again our fingers appreciated 
the tactile pleasure of their surfaces, the contrast 
between the smoothness of the glaze and the 
rough originality of the uncoated clay. Through¬ 
out the course the problem had been how to 
combine the acquisition of new techniques with 
some satisfaction in the exploring of the inherent 
suggestion of the materials which we were using. 
We could touch only the fringes of the subject. 
As we worked we were given a whole range of new, 
stimulating ideas—the pots and pictures in the 
room, the talks on technical points, on glazes and 
on simple kilns—yet most of us, as the course 
passed from the uneasy days of settling in, felt 
able to break away from these to carry on our own 
ideas and interests. One member found clay an 
unsatisfactory material, too unyielding and in¬ 
definite, and spent most of his time carving blocks 
of plaster, another concentrated on hand-built 


April 1953 

pots, leaving 'the wheel' for another time, while 
a third spent some time on delightful small 
models. 

I feel, from what I see the Group did for me as 
its Leader, that I am justified in writing in this 
personal way. At no time did I feel an impelling 
urge to work at my own projects; the intensity of 
the work of others compelled my closest attention, 
their concentration my absorption. First reports, 
three days after we had started, showed me that 
confusion had arisen, with some lessening of 
initial enthusiasm. I w f as prepared for this; the 
frustrations of the craft are many and come quite 
early. If a rapid acceptance of the rigid discipline 
of the craft can be made, the final triumph is the 
greater. One must abandon preconceived desires 
with humility. The next step is to acquire 
sufficiently varied techniques to secure satisfac¬ 
tion in simple products before essaying the more 
difficult ones. Each new step must be an ad¬ 
venture; in a longer period of time there w r ould 
not be that feeling of urgency which worried some 
members of the Group in the early stages — though 
less so later, even though there remained the rush 
to get pots ready for drying, firing and glazing 
within the limits of the time. 

Much of what we were able to do was due to 
the demonstrations wffiich Geoffrey Bridge gave; 
his skill and enthusiasm spurred us on, his con¬ 
tributions to discussions and his wide grasp of 
the subject w r ere invaluable. F'rom our varied 
experiences and backgrounds w r e were able to 
offer a wide field of experience to the Group. We 
set out not to give a comprehensive overall 
mastery of pottery — that would have been im¬ 
possible — but rather an urge to go further. 
Complete and final mastery is never reached 
therein lies the fascination. 


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32 BROOKE STREET. HOLBORN, LONDON, E.C.1 



CREATIVE PAINTING 

C. T. Daltry , Senior Lecturer in Mathematics , University of London Institute of Education 


T his is an account of the activities in creative 
painting of one member of Mrs. Jeanie 
Cannon’s group at the Coventry Conference 
in August 1952. The group met on Thursday, 
7th August, and between then and the following 
Thursday I covered nine sheets of The Times 
newspaper with paintings. I believe that a 
detailed account of how these paintings created 
themseves may be interesting to others who wish 
to paint. 

When a boy at school, I used to paint in water 
colours—the usual subjects, flowers, vases, still 
life. My chief work in life is the training of 
teachers of mathematics. I have always enjoyed 
teaching mathematics and in my teaching I have 
always used coloured chalks very freely. I revel 
in patterns and forms occurring in spatial rela¬ 
tionships. Although I had seen the work of Mrs. 
Cannon’s group at the earlier conference (Chi¬ 
chester 1951) I had never used her painting 
material, powder paint, until a few weeks ago. 
I then relieved the stress of a mathematical con¬ 
ference at Brazier’s Park by painting two pictures 
in powder paints using my own unguided methods. 
The first showed a group of buildings. It 
pleased me, but it now seems bright, hard and 
tense. The second is softer and more distant: it 
shows a vista—looking up the garden terraces. 
In painting these I worked by the light of nature, 
on white paper, to please myself. I evolved my 
own ways of representing things. I may add that 
two years ago I took up the study of the piano¬ 
forte once again under a teacher of genius and 
learnt for the first time how to enjoy the con¬ 
scious acquisition of a musical technique. Few 
experiences can be more satisfying to a teacher 
than to realize that he is being taught brilliantly, 
that he has really comprehended the way to 
success and that the rest is only time, patience 
and delight. This experience, already familiar 
in one medium, was repeated in another. 


a significant painting as she showed us by an 
example painted on the spot. We should have 
to feel the shape of any pattern we put on our 
paper. I believe one or two people did then try 
to make patterns on their paper which they 
really felt, but I waited for what was to come next. 
She next asked us to think about two contrasting 
themes, ‘Life’ and ‘Death’. We were to show in 
black paint with our brushes whatever patterns 
or shapes or pictures came into our minds when 
we thought of ‘Life’—later we were to do the 
same for the thought of ‘Death’. I believe Mrs. 
Cannon indicated her own notion for Life—a kind 
of circling curve. Anyhow the notion of Life to 
me produced a cloud-like outline—chubby, 
curved. Death aroused in my mind thoughts of 
factories, rows of houses, trams, greyness and the 
pattern turned out to be something which a 
friend described as a row of tombstones. We 
were asked to colour our patterns using the 
colours that came into our heads, and blue 
turned up for the first, brown for the second. 
We were then encouraged to attempt, on a 
second sheet of newspaper, any picture that 
cared to come to mind. I remembered a view of 
Corfe Castle in the gap between rows of hills that 
I had seen from some high land near Swanage last 
year, and I tried to represent my vision roughly, 
using goodish sweeps of the colours that seemed 
suitable. The large brushes helped enormously. 
I should say here that the printing on the news¬ 
paper did not worry me at all, ever. Indeed I 
think it helped. A white sheet is much more 
frightening—one is afraid of spoiling it. If the 
printing did not fit in with the picture one was 
creating, then some paint, thickly spread soon 
obliterated it and produced the impression 
desired. Looking later at Corfe Castle I see that 
somehow there is an impression of space and 
distance in the picture but, of course, I did not 
consciously strive to put these impressions there. 


Beginnings Pattern, Portrait, Picture 

After we had chosen a few big brushes we were Next morning Mrs. Cannon asked us to make in 
given sheets of The Times newspaper. Mrs. black paint any pattern that came freely to our 
Cannon told us that we should presently have to minds and which we could represent by allowing 
make patterns on the paper—not just doodles, our hands to move freely. I supposed that my 
though even a doodle could be transformed into frequent sketching of mathematical patterns on 


67 




THE NEW ERA 


68 

blackboards produced an affair of decreasing coils 
repeated up and down the paper. As I allowed 
my hand to make whatever motion came into my 
mind I discovered that I drew other curves which 
gradually joined up with the coils, until I had 
various swirls, some joining some encircling. 
Some joined to produce wide curves, others 
joined to produce finely tapered patterns. When 
we were asked to colour our patterns my colours 
turned out blue, orange, green and yellow. The 
final orange pattern gave me deep satisfaction 
and looked most lively and beautiful. I believe, 
writing from memory, perhaps too late after the 
event, that we were next encouraged to attempt 
a portrait — either imaginary, or the portrait of 
a clown. I chose the latter, probably because I 
had a pretty vivid memory of a painting of a 
clown's face. (Mrs. Cannon tells me the painting 
is by Rouault.) I knew how I wished to begin 
steeple hat, black bobbles, black thick rim. The 
rest of the picture evolved itself, though I had 
to rack my brains to decide what colour (white 
or black) went round the eyes ! My unconscious 
mind must have decided for me, and it worked 
out a satisfying kind of neck gear, and a large and 
depressing mouth: also some substantial ears. I 
do not remember more of the mental processes 
whereby this image was created. I do recall the 
notions ‘why not give him a background? — green 
grass, tent, coloured stripes’, coming gradually 
to mind. I put in these stripes according to my 
whim — I saw later that they had repeated the 
slope of the hat and face. Mrs. Cannon gently 
pointed out that this clown was in fact a self- 
portrait. This was a revelation to me, and 
showed me something of what lies behind this 
method of painting. It is all, to say the least, 
very, very interesting. 

I believe we were then left to our own devices 
to paint what we pleased and it occurred to me 
to paint the view from the artist's window, im¬ 
mediately to my right. I think I had been 
influenced by a set of pictures of Welsh scenes 
from a recent King Penguin A Prospect of Wales. 

I spent most of the war in Wales, evacuated, 
living with my family in an old farmhouse and 
deeply affected by the scenery of the country. 
The Pelican paintings seemed so simple, so 
effective, so satisfying, that I believed I could 
do them. I have certainly looked at them again 
and again. The first was a view from a window. 

In painting my view I consciously noted one 


April 1953 

or two points of technique. 1 suppose that Mrs. 
Cannon, wisest of teachers, had gradually per¬ 
suaded us to accept the fundamental principle 
of her approach that the technique for painting 
a particular picture will be developed by oneself 
when one comes to paint that picture. I believe 
the implications of this principle to be tremendous 
and revolutionary: I have certainly accepted it. 
I realized for instance that the deep black bars 
of the window should be painted in last, right 
across the view, so as to convey the sharp outline, 
the solidity of the window bars. I began by 
roughing in the lines of sky, fields, trees and huts. 
The skv bothered me how to achieve distance. 

I didn't worry but went off to paint the huts 
with stabs of bright colour to represent the 
flowers near them. I discovered that if one is 
bothered by a problem one should move to some¬ 
thing else — if the suggestion comes to mind that 
is. I noted that sometimes a fine brush, some¬ 
times a rough brush, or a thicker brush was 
suggested: I think this is due to fatigue or 
boredom within one's deeper mental activities. 
Something wearies of broad swashes, or else of 
fine lines and moves to the other end of the scale, 
so to speak. I have found a similar movement 
from one contrast to another in shade or balance. 

I found myself (in later pictures) spreading a 
deep tone-brown, blue, green in a corner, all 
round the drawing pin, until I had a triangular 
patch cutting off the corner. I believe that one’s 
unconscious mind perceives a picture as a whole 
only if it is a whole, is it really deeply perceived 
— and this whole is balanced. I was striving for 
balance when I found masses of tone arriving in 
the corners: I shall be on the look out for this 
feeling when painting in the future. 

I left my view and went to lunch. A member 
of the group who was painting some distance 
away from me said over lunch: ‘How did you 
get the distance into your view?' I had not seen 
my picture from his position: but when I saw 
it away from my easel I realized that somehow, 
in following the notions of colour and brushwork 
that had come into my mind, an element had 
been created of which I had been unaware. This 
was becoming fascinating. 

Pattern and Landscape 

About this time I did another pattern — looking 
at the fresh sheet from The Times (placed upside 
down to avoid distraction of course !) and allowing 


April 1953 


CREATIVE PAINTING 


PRELUDE TO DENMARK 

New 

Education Fellowship 
Conference 

2nd-16th AUGUST, 1953 

AT 

THE FOLK HIGH SCHOOL, 
ASKOV, VEJEN, DENMARK 

The aim of this Conference is to give 
members an opportunity of creative 
experience in small groups, SIMILAR 
TO THOSE DESCRIBED IN THIS 
ISSUE OF THE NEW ERA. The 
Conference is not to be regarded as 
providing a series of refresher courses 
in teaching methods but rather as 
helping teachers to look at themselves 
and their work. 

Conference fee and accommodation: 

£11 10s. sterling, or the equivalent 

Programme and application form from 
your National Secretary of the New 
Education Fellowship or from the 
International Secretary, Mr. J. B. 
Annand, M.A., 1 Park Crescent, 

London, W. 1. 


69 

my hand to follow its course. This pattern turned 
out to be a set of repeated whirls sloping across 
the page in descending lines. The colours which 
suggested themselves were green and red and the 
whole would have made a good window fabric 
pattern. So someone suggested: it gave me 
pleasure. Mrs. Cannon contemplating my works 
said that she would like to see me show the 
Downs in a picture—to see how the lines or curves 
would come out. So on Sunday afternoon I set 
about creating such a view from imagination and 
memory. I produced my first really deeply 
creative work and as the process is clear to my 
conscious mind I will describe it in detail. 

Something suggested a view of the sea through 
a dip in the hills. I was happy in beginning by 
tracing this dip: the left hand outline shaped 
itself gracefully, it dipped down and then came 
up in an awkward sort of scarp: I tried to alter 
it but felt unsecure of myself. In the end I let 
it stand. I tried putting in the sea in wavy 
ripples—no good: in a flash I knew what 1 
wanted—descending broad bands of deepening 
grey blue. I must have painted in the sky above. 
My views from the window had taught me a 
thing or two about painting skies—I was con¬ 
fident about them now; thick white at the top 
(this obliterated the newsprint) then wisps of 
blue, some rounded curly clumps of white, tinged 
with faint golden yellow (I glanced out of my 
window to refresh my memory !). The sky came 
out nicely—so did the sea. I believe that I then 
returned to my cliff-top outline and was so 
defeated by it that I put the drawing aside and 
started another—but I soon realized that I could 
not begin afresh. I should be too fatigued, and I 
could obliterate anything in my first attempt by 
using solid white or other colour. ( onfidence in 
realizing this has been slow to develop, yet it is 
the primary virtue of this wonderful medium, 
powder paint. The secondary virtues lie in the 
bright colours and the lovely feeling one has in 
spreading them with the brush. I do not recall 
the precise sequence of subsequent events but I 
remember mixing green until it satisfied me, then 
spreading it and realizing that one should repro¬ 
duce the shape of the land in the curves of one’s 
brush work. Even if I had to paint a square 
patch I should do it differently according to the 
texture or orientation of this bit of surface. 
Henceforward one’s brush curved over hills and 
dales. Somehow I was impelled to use black 
















70 


THE NEW ERA 


April 1935 


and then the notion of thin lines came, then a 
curve— then I realized that my inner, unconscious 
memory was urging me to reproduce a widening 
road leading through the dip towards the sea. 
Brown and a rough brush came to mind and I 
found myself painting with rough sweeps what 
I knew to be the roof of a cottage. Something 
very important followed. 

The Creative Mind at Work 

I must have argued that a cottage needed a 
chimney so I got some black paint and brush 
and painted a chimney. But the chimney 
would not go right — nothing told me when to stop 
blacking it in : it grew too big: I was not a bit 
pleased — so I must have followed another line 
of thought that came — cornfields or the road? — 
and left the chimney. Presently I found myself 
painting a green field around the cottage — and 
the wrong, black chimney went out, painted over 
by the green of the fields, and how pleased I was. 

Now that the painting is complete I know that 
in my memory are at least two views of the sea 
interwoven — Dorset and Wales. I believe I was 
painting a Welsh farm building (not a cottage, 
probably a cow-barn) in a Dorset landscape. It 
is interesting that many people have assured me 
that in their travels they have seen my landscape; 
up and down the shores of these islands. 

I realize now how completely and absolutely 
opposed to creative painting was the kindly 
advice of a member of another group: learning 
that I had found difficulty over painting a 
chimney on a cottage she urged me to go and 
look at a chimney on a red brick building nearby, 
even indicating the building. To do this would 
have been fatal. I was striving to let my hand, 
through brush, colour, depth, texture, reproduce 
what my deep unconscious mind held as its 
memory of some landscape(s) that had impressed 
me deeply. I needed to be patient, to listen, to 
be aware of what my inner voices would murmur. 
In time they settled the chimney to their satis¬ 
faction. They also produced stooks in the corn, 
a tree, stone walls, hedges. I discovered that if 
something inside me suggested vaguely ‘yellow’, 
then I was urged to paint yellow in various 
places: a gorse bush appeared as well as corn¬ 
fields, and little specks (sunlight through the 
leaves?) on the tree. Using, all over the place, 
the colour that comes to the brush, seems to be 
a procedure to be noted. The tree continued to 


be shaped by dabs of varying green, of black — I 
realized that branches were being suggested — 
then suddenly after painting in happily a curious¬ 
ly shaped bit of black I realized I was being 
induced to show branches coming out of the 
picture — a three-dimensional impression. Later 
I found solid triangles of yellow appearing against 
the blue sea on the sky line — they felt lovely to 
paint and I realized I was trying to represent 
stooks. Presently when my brush that had been 
dipped in black paint was nearly dry I was 
impelled to put faint dark marks on these tri¬ 
angles — and the shape of the stooks became 
clearer. Note that I did what I was impelled to 
do. I did not think — ‘How can I improve those 
stooks?' I let my brush roam where it will. 
This may sound absurd, but in fact if you do 
sit in front of paper, some choice of brush, of 
colour, of shape is made by you, somehow. I 
have, so far, never used certain colours by them¬ 
selves — others have come to my mind. Accepting 
this guidance from within in all things, is, I 
suppose, the fundamental discipline of creative 
painting. 

I realize now that awkward seeming lines in 
the early stages of painting a picture will presently 
associate and resolve themselves and flow to¬ 
gether and suggest other lines until the whole 
composition is evolved. Someone has quoted 
Marion Milner’s phrase — ‘the picture answers 
back’. Certainly line calls to line. The awkward 
hump that had first bothered me turned out to 
be cornfields and stooks on a headland going 
away into the picture, towards the sea, and looks 
perfectly all right. 

One of the arts that can only come later is that 
of knowing when to stop. I certainly believe that 
I ‘nattered’ at this landscape too long. And 
although I thought it a real creative achievement 
on the day it was completed it now seems garish, 
hard and stiff. The blacks are too black, the 
outlines too sharp. But it must stay as it is. 

Painting a Portrait 

On the Tuesday morning we were set to paint 
a portrait from a living model, Miss Elgin Strub, 
who kindly sat for us (with breaks for rest) for 
over two hours. Again I was rather apprehensive 
of painting a portrait because I had seen Mrs. 
Cannon at work and I knew that her particular 
technique, using a big brush and generous strokes 
and dabs of colour was not my technique. What 


Af>ril 1953 


CREATIVE PAINTING 


71 


HEINEM ANN 


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I my technique might be I did not know. I should 
have had more faith in Mrs. Cannon’s principle 
I that the creative artist creates his own technique 
j for each picture. The more that I reflect on this 
principle the more revolutionary and drastic does 
it appear to be. For instance it cuts right through 
the root of the flourishing growth of that false 
teaching which requires a course of techniques on 
how to paint this and that before one really 
begins to paint this and that. As soon as our 
sitter was posed I began as seemed best by 
sketching the general outline of the head and then 
I painted the hair—dark, hanging strokes and 
fuzzy wisps and patches—without difficulty. For 
the outline of the features I found myself doing 
what I had not done before—getting a far finer 
I brush than any I had used hitherto. Again the 
‘fatigue’ or ‘contrast’ element operated to send 
me from the features (incomplete of course) to 
paint the gorgeous red velvet of the upper dress. 
One could achieve marvellous effects of the bloom 
on the velvet with red and white and combined 
tones of these colours. I found my brush auto¬ 
matically following the folds and curves of the 
dress. Again a technique for painting the 


flowered pattern of the skirt came by dabbing the 
brush—a kind of ring with a central blob had 
been achieved somewhere and as soon as this 
came I found myself repeating it up and down 
with varying intensity. I note that the intensity 
of the paint on the brush seems to decide where 
one’s (unconscious) mind shall direct the next 
strokes. Time and time again as the paint is 
passing off the brush I find fainter and fainter 
patches and strokes being made in suitable places 
on the painting. Returning to my portrait 
painting I discovered that to get a satisfying 
effect one had to reproduce, by the motion and 
flow of the brushwork, the flow of the lines of 
the body. Thus coming back after coffee and 
contemplating a pink patch representing a bit 
of the leg visible below the skirt I realized why 
that was not convincingly painted — it was just 
a patch not painted through following down the 
lines of the body and leg. At a later stage in the 
painting I found myself attempting, in a satisfying 
manner, to paint the hands by making the 
strokes reproduce the ‘away’ flow of the separate, 
relaxed hands. The time element created a new 
difficulty because one could not complete the 









THE NKW EKA 


portrait within the time available. Without the 
sitter I found myself unable even to paint the 
background cloth -because I had not properly 
placed the sitter with respect to it in my pre¬ 
liminary outlining. I have therefore learnt that 
more attention must be given to the fixing of 
lines and points in the very first stages. How¬ 
ever the result was astonishingly gratifying for a 
first attempt. Looking at the paintings of other 
members of the group one felt that everyone had 
j>ortraved convincingly a real person, that the 
effects had been differently conveyed by different 
painters and that some were amazingly effective. 
I recall the shading of the face in one painting, 
and in another the utterly satisfying effect of a 
relaxed body created by a dozen properly painted 
strokes of black. As first achievements they 
were unbelievably good. 

Music in the Hall 

The last picture of the series seems to be almost 
miraculous may 1 stress that I did not try to 
paint this picture, it created itself. It arose by 
accident. Mrs. Cannon had asked us to paint the 
impressions that came into our mind when a 
piece of piano music was played to us (at our 
morning meeting). I was not looking forward to 
this: it was a new venture, I was not entirely 
easy about what might happen, or might come 
forth -suppose one had no impressions, or con¬ 
fused impressions? Anyhow owing to a late 
Tuesday evening I overslept on the following 
morning, was later in finishing breakfast than I 
realized and suddenly heard the sound of music 
from the hall. I could not get to a seat — and 
suddenly I realized that in front of me was a 
picture waiting to be painted — the pianist, piano, 
audience, music -all sitting for their picture. I 
tried to note colours and lines and shapes: after 
the music I borrowed a pencil and made a sketch 
on the back of an envelope (not used later, 
however). 

I began with an independent sketch (from 
memory) and soon the piano and some masses 
and lines appeared. Later the picture built itself 
up more convincingly from the left — and the 
first piano was obliterated by paint and replaced 
in another position by a second ! Otherwise I 
followed my star: if blue came to my mind, I 
mixed whatever seemed right and applied it 
wherever it felt right and if soft strokes of blue 


April 1953 

felt right up and down the picture I simply let 
my hand and brush follow their inclination. Of 
course they were striving to create the inner 
memory of space and light — and in the end they 
were successful beyond all conscious imagining. 
Unfortunately I could not finish the picture 
before night I was tremendously excited by its 
successful creation of itself and realized that even 
in its unfinished state it was a considerable 
achievement. I rose early next morning, but 
soon realized that my inner vision had departed. 
For one thing the morning light in the studio 
was entirely different from the evening light: 
but my inner promptings were fainter and less 
certain. I stopped: but the result still amazes 
me. I see that another time I should strive to 
make a rapid colour-sketch, and that I should 
try to complete the picture in one day. This 
piece of knowledge is worth having; obviously 
one can easily lose confidence by attempting a 
picture that cannot possibly be created because 
external conditions are too difficult. 

Awareness 

Blessings rarely come singly. I noticed on the 
third day of our painting, for the first time, in a 
dark corridor, a painting by Renoir ‘Portrait of 
a Child - and in a flash I felt how the painting 
had been done. I could sense the feel of the 
brushes spreading the paint. I knew what had 
been in the artist's mind — that he had felt the 
simplicity, the freshness, the tenderness of child¬ 
hood and had sought to capture it by the texture 
and pattern of his painting. I could sense the 
bloom on the cheek, the softness of the hands, 
the limpid depths of the eyes. I realized the 
rightness of the splashes of red colour, of the 
haphazard greens and yellows of the background. 
The painting and its creation came alive to me. 
I now look at all paintings in this way. I see 
that an artist strives to depict a vision, not a 
representation: he paints visions, not pictures. 
I find that I am more sure of myself in deciding 
the quality of a painting distinguishing the 
works of the masters from those of the pupils. 
In particular, since painting the last of my 
series, I can appreciate J. W. M. Turner as never 
before. 

Moreover looking at pictures in this way has 
made me aware of visions of form and beauty 
of paintable quality, so to speak— in the world 


CREATIVE PAINTING 


April 1953 

arohnd. Whilst driving a car along a road I 
become aware of the shades and intensities of 
the greens of the trees and hedges: a cornfield 
strikes my eye because of the unusual colour of 
the stooks — into my mind comes the notions 
‘lemon yellow’, ‘grey’ — and a pattern of scalloped 
tiles on a house simply leaps into view. In the 
streets I am aware of types straight out of 
Breughel or the Douanier Rousseau: I note the 
eyes of a child taking a younger sister shopping 
by one hand, clutching a pound note in the other. 
Two old women gossiping are revealed as signifi¬ 
cant personalities: one notes the lines and 
stresses in their faces. One recognizes things 
that one could paint quite easily, one knows how 
to blend the colours, the size and feel of the 
brush work: one knows how to begin. 

Technique 

Few activities can be more fascinating to a 
teacher than his awareness of his acquisition of 
new skills and new possibilities of achievement. 
One gradually relaxes, paints more easily, more 
freely, adds touches here, there, as the ideas ‘ come 
into the mind ’—‘thicken this sloping line ’, ‘ put 
more green here, more, more, more,—and if pre¬ 
sently a more comprehensive pattern builds up 
then one easily obliterates what has already been 
created. 

Mixing the colours is most interesting. I find 
that my hand moves ‘automatically’ into some 
colour, the brush takes as much as the mind 
requires, adds just enough of blue or yellow or 
white and mixes in appropriate patterns on the 
tile I use for a palette. I believe that as my brush 
mixes the paints on the palette my mind is 
‘making up its mind’ almost ! I find my brush 
making the kind of strokes that are to go on the 
paper, and I allow it to take its time until the 
intensity of the paint feels right. I sometimes 
find myself pressing out unnecessary paint from 
the brush against the edge of the tile: sometimes 
I gather all the paint on the tip of the brush to 
create some full deep stroke. But always I 
follow the impressions that come into my mind: 
I persuade my conscious mind to stand aside, on 
the alert as it were, for all guidance coming from 
below. This seems to be the foundation of all 
that has occurred, and on this foundation who 
knows what one may build? 1 ime will show. 

September, 1952 


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SOCIOLOGY AND THE FREE SPIRIT OF MAN 

Justification of a Conference Technique 

Wyatt Kawson , Director of Studies, Cron borne Chase School 


D uring the last two years the New Education 
l Fellowship has been experimenting with a 
new type of conference. At Chichester and 
Coventry, as at the Frensham Conference, New 
South Wales, members did not attend formal 
lectures but worked together in groups under a 
leader, mostly at one of the arts, making poetry, 
pots and paintings. At Askov, although lectures 
will not be excluded, the same technique will be 
tried out on a wider scale and at a larger con¬ 
ference. This procedure seems odd to many of 
our friends, particularly on the Continent, and it 
may be in place to explain both why this technique 
has been adopted, and how this development has 
inevitably occurred within the Fellowship itself. 

As to the first question, since one of the prin¬ 
ciples of the New Education has always been 
‘Learning by Doing’, it is but natural that this 
method should be applied to N.E.F. Conferences, 
and that the teacher, wishing to know the feelings 
of a child towards himself and the class, should 
put himself in the same situation and learn what 
it feels like. Not only so, but one of the chief 
problems of the New Education has been how to 
call forth the creative spirit in children and to 
discover the conditions that help it or hinder it. 
To undertake some task of creation oneself is the 
best way of learning what these are. It is often 
a new and valuable experience for a teacher to 
find himself not only among the taught, but 
called upon to use those creative forces within 
him which the narrowing routine of school and 
classroom has too often tended to atrophy. What 
a wonderful sense of release has come to some, as 
they found themselves in painting or poetry ! A 
release, too, which communicates itself to their 
whole attitude to their work and to their pupils. 

So much has been demonstrated in the last two 
conferences. But the need for such methods has 
only become apparent in recent years. Why is 
this ? The reason lies in the development of the 
New Education itself. A short retrospect will 
make this clear. 

The Fellowship was founded upon a belief in 
the creative power of human beings. At first, we 
called this freedom, and sought a type of educa¬ 
tion which would free, instead of fettering, the 


spirit of the growing child, re-examining tradi¬ 
tional methods and ideals in the light of this need. 
This soon brought us to a study of psychology. 
What did we mean by freedom ? One aspect of 
this freedom was certainly to be found in the 
absence of repressions and compulsive reactions, 
the harmful nature of which was revealed in the 
psychology of the unconscious. But this was not 
enough. T he freedom we sought was something 
very much more than this, and seemed to be 
bound up with the relationship between society 
and its groups and the growing individual. 

So our next contact was with sociology and its 
study of group life. From it we sought a light to 
guide us through the tangled growth of human 
relationships, a clarification of the influences that 
social life brings to bear upon the individual and 
his personal efforts. But curiously enough it not 
only provided us with this elucidation but threw 
an unexpectedly bright light upon what we meant 
by freedom, that is the spontaneous and creative 
forces that exist in children and in men. 

During the last war a whole new world was 
opened to many members of the N.E.F. by their 
contact with Karl Mannheim and it may be of 
value to outline what it was that he stood for, so 
as to make clear what the sociologists have con¬ 
tributed to our understanding of the principles of 
the New Education. Mannheim’s views were 
crystallized in a number of concepts, which he 
sought to clarify by employing a special termin¬ 
ology. Thus he talked of social institutions as 
storehouses of behaviour-patterns, and spoke of 
‘primary images’ when he wished to refer to those 
ideals of behaviour and attitude that are un¬ 
consciously acquired by the child in his home. It 
is easy to laugh at such terms, but they were 
valuable pointers to facts too often neglected and 
threw into relief certain important aspects of 
social life. 

What were the new points that his analysis 
made clear ? Let us enumerate them. First of 
all, he spoke of the value of ‘marginal’ opinion, of 
freaks and minorities, particularly in times of 
crisis, and talked of the ‘prestige-carriers’ of a 
society running about, seeking new patterns of 
behaviour, new social habits, from marginal 


74 


75 


April 1953 sociology and the 

groups. We thought of the first world war and 
the introduction of Daylight Saving, or of Eleanor 
Rathbone and the final granting of Family 
Allowances during the second world war — and we 
understood what he meant, and took to heart our 
educational lesson. For Education must defend 
minorities; it is as responsible for the marginal as 
for the traditional type and for the new and 
original as for the established and accepted. 

Secondly, Mannheim stressed the value of 
solitude. It is in solitude, or at least far removed 
from the exigencies of social life, that insights 
come. Fie saw the value of monastic withdrawal, 
and had nothing but contempt for the attitude 
declared in the song, so popular at one time 
between the world wars—‘The more we are 
together, the merrier we shall be’. What teacher 
has not had to deal with a child of marked 
originality, who for this reason keeps to himself 
and tends to become lonely ? Such a child may 
need help so as not to develop an anti-social 
attitude, but how careful we should also be to 
provide opportunities of fruitful solitude, at least 
for those whose thoughts and feelings do not run 
on accepted lines ! We should all be acutely 
aware of how sensitive are insights and originality, 
and how easily they can be stifled, if not killed, 
in the growing child. 

Mannheim also confirmed us in our belief in the 
power of education, declaring that most instincts 
are really only complex habits due to the influence 
of society and its forces. He spoke (paradoxically) 
of a gradual transformation by which human 
nature can be changed. This transformation, 
however, must be the work of all the educational 
forces in the community—home, school, factory, 
cinema and radio. It is not enough to confine our 
attention to what goes on in the classroom or the 
school. The home is still the most important, for 
there the behaviour patterns of later life are first 
formed. But all the educational forces of society 
interact so closely that we need not despair even 
if there seems to be (at least in England) no 
organization directly concerned to re-educate the 
home. Already the clinics are providing valuable 
aid, and when the Education Act of 1944 is finally 
implemented and Community Centres are set up 
all over England, we shall have an institution at 
hand that may be well suited to this work. 

Industry also has its part to play. It may be 
that industry as a whole, following the example of 
certain enlightened firms, will develop its own 


FREE SPIRIT OF MAN 


Ship Without Sails 

M. LLOYD TURNER 

With a Foreword by 

SIR HAROLD SCOTT, K.C.B., K.B.E. 

Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis 

I his account of the Sailing Barge Normanliurst 
and her crew of “ Unclubbables ” covers the 
first three years of an experimental venture 
to attract and hold this kind of boy. Mr. 
Turner, who was Warden of the Barge Boys’ 
Club during this period, has written the inside 
story of the struggle for power within a gang, 
and at the same time provided valuable point¬ 
ers to ways of meeting this deep-rooted and 
topical problem. 

This is a book which will be of interest to 
parents, sociologists, psychologists, youth 
workers, and all who are interested in the 
informal side of education. At the same time 
it is an interesting, and even exciting, narrative 
in its own right. 

Publishing April 9th. 7/6 net. 

Saving Children from 
Delinquency 

D. H. STOTT, Ph.D. 

Research Fellow , Institute oj Education , 
University of Bristol 

At a time when crimes of violence are com¬ 
mitted by young men, some of them in their 
teens, the problem of their prevention is upper¬ 
most in the minds of all thinking men and 
women today. 

Dr. Stott’s new book, containing his proposals 
for preventing the crime by preventing the 
unhappiness which lies behind it, will be 
eagerly read by all who are aware of their 
duties towards the younger generation. 

“ It is a relief to turn from the sentimental 
clamour of those for whom violence is the only 
answer to violent crime and listen to the voice 
not merely of reason but of a positive and per¬ 
suasive optimism . . . will give aid and comfort 
to those who have actual working knowledge 
of the problems involved in dealing with 
twisted lives.” The Manchester Guardian. 

12/6 net. 

Write jor a copy of our 1953 SPRING LIST 

UNIVERSITY OF LONDON PRESS LTD. 
Warwick Square - London, E.C.4 
























THE NEW ERA 


m 

t () 

part-time educational services. There are obvious 
dangers in this, but the institutional framework 
is not as important as the spirit that works within 
it, and many firms now realize the value of an 
all-round education, not so much as a technical 
aid, but as making for a balanced personality 
capable of reacting wisely to the strains and 
stresses of corporate life and so tending towards 
a smoother running of workshop and factory. It 
is debatable whether or not this will increase 
production. What it certainly will do is to 
increase the sum of human happiness, particularly 
if the education given is run on modern lines, 
preparing youth to engage in co-operative team¬ 
work and recognizing the value of the original 
contribution of each individual to the whole. 

Professor Mannheim’s attitude to planning has 
often been misrepresented. He believed, for 
instance, in planning for leisure, not in organizing 
it, declaring, with very good reason, that unless 
we do look ahead and plan, freedom and origin¬ 
ality will soon be extinguished. This is clear when 
we consider the housing problem in England. 
The dormitory town with no civic centre allows 
little room for the development of local initiative, 
since it provides no platform for the original work 
of its inhabitants, so that they are reduced to the 
borrowed experiences’ of cinema and wireless 
instead of taking part directly in their own 
dramatic and musical creations. In considering 
how leisure can be more fruitfully used, Mannheim 
insisted on the need for the help of the more 
sensitive person, one who by the depth of his 
understanding and enthusiasm can inspire others 
with his own vision. 

He saw, nevertheless, that codes of behaviour 
are necessary, and thought that one of the tasks 
of education was to achieve sufficient self- 
discipline among the population to secure volun¬ 
tary submission to them. He never made the 
mistake, of which the New Education is sometimes 
wrongly accused, of thinking that if adults 
abdicate, the younger generation will build up a 
new and better society when it comes of age. For 
the younger generation is bound to be engaged in 
learning and applying the adult norms, and what 
we need is a type of authority that is not founded 
merely upon force or greater experience, but 
includes a real respect for others and an aware¬ 
ness of one’s own limitations and defects. 

hor some of us Mannheim's most vital con¬ 
tribution to the New Education was his conviction 


April 1953 

that religion and humanism must unite. Sociology 
was not enough; it led inevitably beyond itself 
into a realm not amenable to determinism or 
intellectual argument. He believed that we must 
be moved by an ancient and timeless vision, while 
remaining sensitive to the needs of the present. 

It is often supposed that the New Education is 
purely humanistic and that religion plays little or 
no part in its attitude to life. This view is false. 
The founders of the Fellowship and of many of its 
new schools in different parts of the world were 
all religiously minded. They were believers, 
though often they belonged not to the prevailing 
religious organizations of their country but to 
one of those smaller, marginal groups, from which 
would come, so Mannheim declared, the new 
insights needed to remake our civilization. Indeed 
the New Education Fellowship has largely been 
the creation of those with religious convictions. 
It has aimed at the creation of a more Christian 
civilization, if we may interpret the word Christian 
in its widest sense. Here Mannheim’s message 
was vital. He declared that the great primeval 
images of Christianity had in no wise lost their 
validity, although they had grown stale and dead 
in face of the challenge of our mechanized society. 
He believed that they would be revivified if we 
could fit them to the modern situation. Com¬ 
mands such as ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself' 
must be extended and given a social meaning in 
community service. What he called the para¬ 
digmatic aspect of Christianity, its symbolism 
and parables, seemed to him to contain eternal 
truths. It is not that we have lost our funda¬ 
mental beliefs; here in England at least the 
Christian insights, the Christian ideal, still stand 
and have never been abandoned. The difficulty 
is in re-interpreting our symbols and our parables 
in terms of modern problems. Once so re¬ 
interpreted they will regain their power. 

Religion, like all great philosophic and artistic 
insights, is caught, not taught. It is derived from 
contact with the truly religious person and from 
a reverence for those whose vision we have learnt 
to respect — a reverence which, as Goethe said, we 
need to learn as part of our social inheritance. 
Great works of art, great religious lives, great 
systems of thought are not to be easily grasped. 
They have an authority that is timeless. For they 
demand of each individual an attempt to rise 
above the present self, to deepen the understand¬ 
ing and open the doors of the mind and heart to 


SOCIOLOGY AND THE FREE SPIRIT OF MAN 


77 


April 1953 

something beyond themselves. This attempt to 
free the self from its self-hood, as Blake might 
say, is one part of the task of the school. 

It is to be noted that religion, philosophy and 
the arts are here treated as all belonging to one 
aspect—the cultural aspect—of life, which has to 
be clearly distinguished from the social and 
scientific aspects. It is important that they should 
be so distinguished, or we shall begin to talk about 
artistic progress or religious progress as though 
these phrases had the same meaning as scientific 
or social progress. As Alfred Weber 1 has per¬ 
suasively argued, there is no cultural progress as 
such: culture is the reaction of the creative human 
spirit to the progress of science and technology 
and the resultant reorganization of social life. 
Our present cultural and moral predicament is 
due to the rapidity with which these have changed 
during the last 50 to 100 years. We need a 
re-humanization, I would like to call it a re¬ 
spiritualization, of life. Faced with a new con¬ 

1 His arguments are brought together in his recently-published book, 
Prinzipien der Geschichts—und Kultursoziologie. It would be extremely 
valuable if this book could be translated into English, as it deals 
illuminatingly with the relationship between sociology and the creative 
element in man, and shows to those engaged in the social sciences the 
necessary limitations of their specialism, and to the philosopher and 
religious thinker the relation of their efforts to the social and intellectual 
life of their time. 


stellation, a new crystallization, of the external 
and scientific elements in our existence, we need 
to renew our symbols—our art, our philosophy 
and our religion. 

We seem to have wandered far from our point 
of departure, the new conference technique 
evolved by the Fellowship. Yet we have really 
been touching its deeper sense all the time. For 
education to achieve its ends, as Miss Richardson 
said in the January number of The New Era, ‘an 
understanding of the psychological forces at work 
in the group' is needed. This sociological know¬ 
ledge can be gained by any teacher who joins one 
of the groups at Askov, thus becoming a pupil 
again and learning all that that implies. 

But something else is required if we are to 
understand the needs of the children we teach. 
There is an original and creative element in man, 
which must be called forth and given a sphere of 
operation, if the individual is not to become a 
truncated and frustrated human being. Those 
who attend one of the groups at Askov will be 
able to ‘feel in their bones’ just what these 
creative forces are, what they need for their 
development and how the sensitive teacher can 
best guide them to mature fulfilment. 

m 


They can be fluent ! 

JAMES HEMMING’S 

Fluent Writing und Speaking 

A COURSE OF EIGHT BOOKS IN THREE GRADES 


Stage One : Ai, 2 and 3, 1/9 each Stage Two : Bi, 2 and 3,1/9 each Stage Three : Ci and 2, 2/- each 

This course is designed to give the less able children confidence in the use of words without which they 
remain discouraged and incompetent. 

The books are short, lively, gaily illustrated, fun to work—and pursue simple, definite educational ob¬ 
jectives through interesting exercises, free writing, drama-work, games and word-puzzles of a kind to 
promote the child’s close application. 

Stage One concentrates on the sentence; Stage Two on the paragraph; and Stage Three on writing 
simple letters, reports, descriptions and stories. Written and verbal work reinforce each other. A 
minimum of grammar and punctuation is introduced at each stage, not as something to be learnt in 
isolation, but as an aid to developing essential insight into the work of words. 

Equally suitable as an initiation course for less able children of nine-plus and as a rehabilitation course 
for backward secondary school children. 


LONGMANS 













AN AUSTRALIAN CONFERENCE 


Morven S. Brown , Senior Lecturer in Education , Sydney University 


L ast Wednesday a very unusual kind of summer 
school came to and end at Frensham, Mitta- 
- 'gong, New South Wales. The school was 
planned and run by the New Education Fellow¬ 
ship- as part of its attempt to make education 
more creative, less competitive, and more con¬ 
cerned with the development of mature personali¬ 
ties. In this latest venture the idea was to give 
groups of adults a chance to engage in creative 
activity under the guidance of acknowledged 
leaders in several fields of art. The object was 
not to impart technical skill the school lasted 
only ten days — but rather to enable teachers to 
gain confidence in their own artistic taste and 
perception through practical experience with one 
or other forms of artistic expression. 

The school was carefully planned over many 
months by a committee headed by Mrs. Clarice 
McNamara. In its final meetings the committee 
co-opted the specially chosen art group leaders: 
Lyndon Dadswell (sculpture), John Lipscombe 
and Desiderius Orban (painting), Geoffrey Thomas 
(drama), and Terence Hunt (music). 


Braziers Park 

IPSDEN, OXON. Phone Checkendon 221 


RESIDENTIAL COURSES 

APRIL 10-13 Experimental Painting and Modelling 

Jeannie Cannon 


APRIL 17-20 


I Define My Religion 


APRIL 24-27 

MAY 1-4 


The Elizabethan Age 

Edgar Billingham 

Square Dancing 

John Glaister 

Mutualism The Way In ? 

J. Norman Glaister 


Particulars are also available of 

Whitsun Dance and Drama Festival 

International Seminar, July 28 August 11 

Leader : Dr. C. Gattegno 

Sensory Summer School, August 19-September 2 
“Values in Conflict” 


On the opening day, the 29th December, tin 
107 people who attended were invited to select 
which one of the five art groups each preferred to 
join. Each person was strongly urged to select 
a form of art in which he felt he had no special 
aptitude or skill: thus, those who were good at 
painting were encouraged to join the sculpture 
or drama or music groups; those who had done 
some acting were steered away from the drama 
group, and so on. The groups worked with their 
leaders from 9.30 to 12.30 for ten successive 
mornings, and many members returned to the 
workrooms (or found suitable places in the lovelv 
Frensham school grounds) for further work at 
other times. 

In some cases quite extraordinary progress was 
made. One leader told me that, because of their 
enthusiasm, his group learnt as much in ten days 
as his regular part-time art students learnt in a 
term and a half. Emphasis was laid on creative 
work, and the groups revelled in writing and 
producing short plays and mimes, in composing 
melodies and songs, and in producing a variety 
of paintings and sculptures. The leaders got 
their groups working on the ‘freer’ sorts of 
expression to begin with, and only gradually led 
them to bring their work under the discipline 
implicit in the nature and limitations of the 
media they were using. 

But there was no special stress on technique, 
nor any effort made to uncover latent artistic 
promise. The essential idea was to give people 
what one woman happily called ‘an adventure in 
understanding’, by opening a new window on 
reality. The assumption was that this could best 
be done if each person had a ‘go’ at some form of 
art work himself. . In this way, it was hoped, 
ordinary people would be able to follow the 
artist some distance into his world, there to work 
with his media, to cope with his peculiar difficul¬ 
ties, and perhaps to catch a glimpse of the travail 
and the ecstasy of creative endeavour. In the 
evenings the leaders lectured about their arts, 
and a number of impromptu music and drama 
listening circles formed. But these activities 
were essentially supplementary to the main grou: 
experiences. 

I did not find one person in the school — and 
discussed the matter with over thirty — who 


78 





April 1953 an Australian 

doubted that he had gained in power to appreciate 
the outlook of the modern painter, the musician, 
the playwright or the sculptor. One woman told 
me that she wanted to go on drawing, even though 
she had never held a brush before coming to 
Mittagong. ‘I want to draw,’ she said, 'not 
because I shall ever produce anything interesting, 
but because, apart from the satisfaction I get 
out of it, I know I shall learn more and more 
about real artists and what they are getting at.’ 

A yong man—a New Australian—said: ‘I know 
now I shall never be a sculptor. But I have had 
an experience of how a sculptor feels, and it has 
changed my whole outlook.’ 

This change in outlook was not confined to 
attitudes to art. A number of people reported 
that they had gained a new awareness of other 
aspects of life. Some said that they had always 
been frightneed of certain forms of artistic 
expression. In overcoming their fears they had 
grown in personal independence and maturity. 
Others said that they had gained in self-confidence 
from the work they had done in the small leader¬ 
less sections into which the various groups split 
up. One of the painting leaders, Desiderius 


CONFERENCE 79 

Orban, was very pleased about these outcomes: 
he strongly believes that painting compels people 
to take full responsibility for what they are trving 
to create. I never try to free them from that 
responsibility’, he told me. ‘As they see things 
anew with the eyes of the artist, they are also 
seeing themselves and their own lives anew.’ 

All the leaders agreed that they had found 
their work stimulating, although they were 
naturally cautious about claiming too much. 
Actually, the school owed a great deal to the 
leaders. Apart from their teaching skill, they 
brought a tough-minded devotion to their arts, 
which froze out any tendency towards ‘arty- 
craftiness’. No one was molly-coddled, and 
nobody was falsely flattered. At times the going 
was hard, and even discouraging; but no one 
gave in, and all learnt something of the discipline 
exacted by the arts. They learnt, as one 
leader frankly said, ‘to be happy even in their 
misery’. 

For most people happiness prevailed. The 
Mittagong school combined all the fun of a good 
holiday with the serious satisfaction that comes 
from a genuinely enriching experience. 


INTERNATIONALLY-MINDED 

SCHOOLS 

The Conference of Internationally- 
Minded Schools has developed steadily 
during the past four years. Originally 
a group of educationists from several 
countries was called together by Unesco 
in 1949. This group set up an inter¬ 
national committee which has organ¬ 
ized two courses for teachers at Geneva 
and Ommen, in 1950 and 1952. 
Reports were drawn up which serve as 
the basis for future activity. The 
Conference has members in many 
European countries and in America, 
Ceylon, India, Pakistan and Hong- 
Kong; its affairs are directed by a 
committee of eight members drawn 
from seven countries. 

A course will be held at the beginning 
of August at Salem School on the 
shores of Lake Constance, directed by 
Mr. K. Millins, Lecturer in Education 
at Durham University, which will 
study the neglected opportunities for 
promoting international understanding 
through education. Further particulars 
can be obtained from Mr. F. W. 
Button, Leighton Park School, 
Reading, Berks. 


Notices 

UNITED NATIONS 
ESSAY COMPETITION 

Winners from ten countries to 
visit New York 

To give people all over the world an 
opportunity to visit United Nations 
Headquarters in New York, the United 
Nations has created ten fellowships, 
and is organizing an Essay Competition 
open to men and women aged between 
20 and 35 who are keenly interested in 
the United Nations. 

Competitors may choose one of the 
following two subj ects: 

(a) United Nations Technical Assist¬ 
ance and Peace: The Duties of 
Peoples and the responsibilities 
of the International Community. 

( b) The Role of Non-Governmental 
Organizations in the Imple¬ 
mentation of the Principles of 
the United Nations. 

Full particulars obtainable from the 
Secretary of your United Nations 
Association. 


A COURSE ON HUMAN 
RELATIONS 

A group of East London teachers 
under the chairmanship of Professor 
J. A. Lauwerys has drawn up an 
interesting syllabus on Human Rela¬ 
tions aimed at the senior pupils of 
Secondary Modern Schools. 

The syllabus is divided into three 
sections: (a) Getting on with our 
Neighbours; (6) Getting on with 
Groups; (r) Getting on with the World. 
Each section describes detailed pro¬ 
jects, visits, activities, fields of study 
aimed at giving an understanding of 
co-operative citizenship. 

At present three schools are experi¬ 
menting with this syllabus and as a 
result of their work an Educational 
Publisher has commissioned a book on 
Human Relations for the guidance of 
teachers. A larger number of experi¬ 
ments in schools would be welcome, 
however, in order to give the book as 
wide an appeal as possible. Would 
teachers interested in seeing the 
syllabus and, perhaps, in using it in 
part or in whole, please write to: 
Hallam Tennyson, Ivy Cottage, 
Coolham, Sussex. 


Directory 

PINEWOOD, 

AM WELLBURY, HERTS. 

Home school for boys and girls 4 to 14, 
where diet, environment, psychology and teach¬ 
ing methods maintain health and happiness. 

Elixabcth Strachan. Wore 52 . 


BRYANSTON SCHOOL 

BLANDFORD, DORSET 

Chairman of the Governors : 

Eric Farmer, M.A. 

Headmaster: T. F. COADE, M.A. 

(Christ Church, Oxford) 

A Public School, founded in 1928 , which 
attempts to unite progressive education 
with what is best in the old Public School 

tradition. 

FOUR SCHOLARSHIPS (£175—£100), 
a MUSIC SCHOLARSHIP (£100), 
an ART SCHOLARSHIP (£100), 

and to boys of good character and all¬ 
round ability Two Bursaries of £100 
will be offered at the end of May, 1953 . 
These awards are tenable for four years. 

Full information may be obtained by 
writing direct to the Headmaster. 


KILQUHANITY HOUSE 

CASTLE DOUGLAS SCOTLAND 

FOR BOYS AND GIRLS 3-18 YEARS 

Established in 1940, Kilquhanity House 
frankly owes its inception to the work of 
A. S. Neill, who now considers it in the 
direct line of his own school and that of 
Homer Lane. It docs not, however, cater 
for problem children. In practice there 
is an attempt to combine the traditional 
thoroughness of Scottish education with 
self-government for the pupils. Activity 
methods are used throughout, and the 
teaching staff is qualified to the standards 
demanded by the Scottish Education 
Department, which inspects the school. 
There is ample opportunity for practice 
in all the creative arts. A small mixed 
farm is a fundamental part—as distinct 
from an adjunct—of the school. The 
diet is on food reform lines, though chil¬ 
dren do not require to be vegetarian. 

f—i £150-£180 PER ANNUM 
Hiadmilttr: J. M. AITKENHEAD, M.A. (Him.), Ed B 


of Schools 


ST. CATHERINE’S SCHOOL, 

Almondsbury, near BRISTOL. 

Co-Educational Boarding. All Ages. 

400 Feet up. looking on to Channel and Welih Hill*. 
Vegetarian Food Reform Diet. 

Music, Art, Margaret Morris Movement, Crafts. 

65 guineas per term. 

Ralph Cooper, M.A., and Joyce Cooper. 


DARTINGTON HALL 

TOTNES DEVON 

Headmaster: W. B. CURRY, M.A., B.Sc. ! 

A co-educational boarding school for 
boys and girls from 7-18 in the centre of 
a 2,000 acre estate engaged in the 
scientific development of rural industries. 
The school gives to Arts and Crafts, 
Dance, Drama and Music the special 
attention customary in progressive 
schools, and combines a modern outlook 
which is non-sectarian and inter¬ 
national with a free and informal 
atmosphere. It aims to establish the 
high intellectual and academic stan¬ 
dards of the best traditional schools. 

Fees: £210-^260 per annum. 

Scholarships are sometimes available, 
and further information about these 
may be obtained from the Headmaster. 


BEDALES SCHOOL 

PETERSFIELD HANTS (Founded 1893) 

A Co-educational Boarding School for boys and 
girls from 11 ^-18. Separate Junior School for 
those from 5-11. Inspected by the Ministry of 
Education. Country estate of ISO acres. Home 
Farm. Education is on modern lines and aims at 
securing the fullest individual development in, 
and through, the community. 

Headmaster : H. B. JACKS, M.A. (Oxon.) 


Wychwood School, Oxford 

RECOGNIZED BY MINISTRY OF EDUCATION. 

Maximum of 80 girls (boarding and day pupils) 
aged 10-18. Small classes, large graduate staff. 
Education in widest sense under unusually 
happy and free c onditions. Exceptional health 
record. Elder girls can work for universities, 
can specialize in Music, or take year's training 
at Wychlea (Domestic Science House). 
Playing fields, bathing pool. 

Principals : Mi§* MARGARET LEE, M.A. (Oxon.) 

Late University Tutor in English 
Miss E. M. SNODGRASS, M.A. (Oxon. 


























THE NEW ERA 

IN HOME AND SCHOOL 

STANDARDS FOR OUR TIME 

James Hemming, Author oj ‘Teach I hem to Live', ‘The Teaching oj Social Studies in Secondary Schools', etc. 


E ducation has three main functions in a 
democratic society. It has to nourish the 
inherent capacities of each child; it has to 
develop the general personal and practical skills 
necessary for competence in social life, including 
those needed for earning a living; and it has to 
help preserve cultural continuity and purpose. 
Bad education may either fail in all three objec¬ 
tives simultaneously or it may neglect one or 
more of them. It may also fail because the 
whole pattern of what is learnt at school is 
unsuited to the age or situation in which those 
subjected to it are living—a case in point is the 
narrow classical curriculum of the local grammar 
schools in the late nineteenth century which ‘led 
to nothing and was in no demand’. 1 

Educational failure reveals itself in two stages: 
first, in mal-development of school children—in 
human waste that is—and, later, by persons who 
fall short of what is required of them under the 
tests of living, such as work, marriage, friendship, 
recreation and participation in government. It 
is the social exposure of inadequacy that gives 
rise to concern about standards. 

As society grows more complex, so do the tasks 
of education. Each generation of children has 
more knowledge to master, more varied vocations 
to prepare for, more ideas to sort out, more diverse 
relationships to handle. With each era, new 
needs and new objectives arise. The last century 
made literacy for all a necessary ideal, while 
regarding such subjects as history and geography 
as unnecessary frills; the present century has 
needed to extend its educational purposes time 
and time again. Our current aim is, officially, 
secondary education for all and higher education 
for the most able. But this latest extension has 
been necessary not merely in order to provide the 
skill required to service a technological civiliza¬ 
tion. We have other, even deeper, needs. For 

i Professor R. L. Archer, Secondary Education in the Nineteenth Century, 
Cambridge University Press, 1921. 


instance, we have to fight hard to bring up 
children as social beings in spite of the impersonal 
hugeness of our mass society; to educate children 
as cultivated persons in spite of our materialistic 
age; to give people understanding and breadth 
in spite of the overwhelming bulk and complexity 
of contemporary knowledge and the confusion of 
the contemporary scene; and to promote an 
overall mental health in an era characterized by 
widespread emotional instability. The absolute 
necessity of including these broader social tasks 
in our educational purposes is being slowly 
grasped by whole peoples under the relentless 
impact of the testing times in which we live. 

When we remember the increased and increas¬ 
ing complexity of the schools’ role in society, we 
can hardly be surprised that they do not fully 
match up to it. Some young people fail to 
meet the demands of the times and there is an 
immediate outcry about poor standards. In¬ 
ability to read and backwardness in reading are 
the particular butt of newspapers. Commercial 
houses criticize the standards in spelling and 
elementary arithmetic in their recruits. Army 
educators report startling ignorance in a propor¬ 
tion of those who have passed right through a 
traditional school course. Professors complain 
about the narrowness and immaturity of many 
of the young students entering university. In¬ 
dustrialists deplore that many science graduates 
who join their companies show both inability 
to tackle practical problems and a serious lack 
of general education. From various fields we are 
told of poor social skill resulting in inability to 
co-operate—or to lead—effectively. Poor written 
and verbal fluency in the otherwise well educated 
comes in for much caustic comment. Lack of 
zest is another common complaint. W hy are 
some recruits to industry inert, unimaginative 
and dumb, without enterprise or initiate e? 
asked Sir Edward Herbert at the Federation of 
British Industries Conference at Nottingham last 


81 














THE NEW ERA 


82 

September. He wondered: 'Are we “educating” 
these qualities out of our young men?' 1 Other 
complaints condemn the low aesthetic standards 
commonly to be found in our society. 

There is no need to extend the list. What lies 
behind this spate of criticism is a fear lest the 
products of our schools and universities fall below 
the needs of the age. Such a gap would not only 
be socially inconvenient. When young people 
fail to meet satisfactorily the tests of life, their 
self respect, their confidence, and their relation¬ 
ships with others are impaired. This further 
undermines their capacity for living. If that 
happened to too many, social vitality and morale 
would be sapped; civilization itself would begin 
to stumble. That, roughly, is the situation in 
which we find ourselves to-day. 

There are three possible responses. One is 
laissez-faire — ‘it will all turn out right in the end’. 
The second is panic retreat — a desperate attempt 
to ‘regain standards’ by putting the clock back. 
The third is to think anew about educational 
aims and to reassess standards in terms of pre¬ 
vailing realities. It is obvious that the New 
Education Fellowship is engaged in the third. 
Nostalgic glances backwards will not advance 
the situation; nor will complacency. Let us 
start by an examination of what we mean by 
‘standards’ in the modern context. 

We cannot, of course, use the word to-day in 
the traditional way. To do so would be to ignore 
the facts. Originally, the teacher’s task seemed 
quite straightforward. He had something to 
teach and he had a certain number of years in 
which to teach it, so he divided his total content 
arbitrarily into annual chunks and proceeded to 
do his best to hammer home one chunk each year. 
Those pupils who kept up with this pace of 
inculcation, class by class, were considered ‘up 
to standard’; those who lagged behind were 
‘below standard’. Furthermore, this approach 
to standards only concerned itself with subjects 
that could be conveniently divided into annual 
programmes. Consequently, many less measur¬ 
able attributes — such as clear thinking—received 
little attention. 

This ‘annual chunk’ approach to educational 
planning gave way in due course to another form 
of error. People began to calculate average 
attainment — which was a useful thing to do — and 

• Report of The Conference of Industries and the l'n\\ ersities, published 
by The Federation of British Industries, 21 Tothill Street, S.W.l, 1053. 


May 1 95,3 

then made the unjustified assumption that the 
statistical average is the human normal in spite 
of mounting evidence that the normal child’ 
cannot exist in reality since what is ‘normal’ is 
for every child to be different from every other 
child. Roth these approaches to setting standards 
broke down under the impact of studies in human 
variation and of the broadening conception of 
what aspects of a child’s development are (in 
whole or in part) the responsibility of the school. 

Should we then stop talking about standards 
altogether? It may be tempting to seek to 
banish the word from our educational thinking 
just because certain false ideas have, in the past, 
become wedded to it. Rut if we were to banish 
it, we should certainly have to find some other 
word to serve in its place, for it is quite clear that 
as a society we need to feed and train definite 
attributes. We need to reach certain standards 
of literacy and aesthetic sensitivity if we are to 
maintain our level of culture; certain standards 
of specialist knowledge if we are to remain pre¬ 
eminent in professional skill, science, invention 
and technology; certain standards of general 
education if we are to be a coherent community; 
certain standards of emotional maturity if society 
is to be mentally and morally healthy, and so on. 

The needs of society and our knowledge of the 
dynamics of personal growth together supply the 
new outlook on standards that we require to-day. 
We no longer seek to overstrain or limit children 
by imposing rigid norms on annual advance: we 
want the duller to make their best pace without 
condemnation, and the more brilliant to forge 
ahead to their hearts’ content. Rut we do need, 
on the one hand, to attain a definite overall level 
as a society if we are to thrive culturally and 
economically, and, on the other, we have to see 
that each individual is equipped to his personal 
optimum for a full, satisfying life in the modem 
world. 

These new standards cannot be measured with 
the mechanical precision of the old, but the 
schools are, nevertheless, not left completely 
without w^ays of assessing their achievement. 
Failures in social and cultural preparation can 
be diagnosed by careful observation, while it is 
not difficult to assess with useful accuracy how' 
far a child is lagging behind his potentialities in 
particular skills. 

But, people may argue, are you not now' talking 
about aims, which are by nature general, rather 


May 1953 


STANDARDS FOR OUR TIME 


83 


THE EXPERIENCE OF POETRY 

IN SCHOOL 


Edited by Victoria V. Brown, County Inspector of Schools, Northumberland, and 
formerly Senior English Lecturer at Exhall Training College, Pp. 204 10j. 6d. net 

This new book for teachers is an assembly of articles by various authorities on aspects 
of poetry teaching in Secondary Schools, with special reference to work in the Secondary 
Modern Schools. Chapters deal with speaking and dramatizing poetry, writing original 
poetry, illustrating poetry, and reading and discussing poetry. Many extracts are given 
from poems suitable for various ages, and there is a sixteen-page supplement of children’s 
own pictures interpreting poems they have read. 


The book does not set out either to dictate method or to prescribe content, but is an 
attempt to share some discoveries which may suggest to other teachers different ways of 
initiating poetic experience in the children they teach. 

Applications for inspection copies should be addressed to the 

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 
Education Department - Oxford 


than standards, which should be precise? Educa¬ 
tional aims and educational standards are 
inevitably interrelated. The Oxford Dictionary 
gives one definition of ‘standard’ as ‘a definite 
degree of any quality, viewed as a prescribed 
object of endeavour’. The ‘prescribed object’ is 
our educational aim; the ‘definite degree of any 
quality’ is the standard in some essential attain¬ 
ment which it is legitimate to expect of a child in 
view of his combined role as person and citizen, 
bearing in mind his individual variation. This 
interrelation of aims and standards is a very 
practical matter. If your social aim for education 
is simple—as, for example, that every child shall 
know certain passages of the Koran by heart— 
then you can attain it without much difficulty. 
But, as soon as you multiply objectives, you have 
to face the reality that the standards you expect 
in any field must be related to the standards you 
expect in all other fields. That obvious truth 
would not be worth stating were it not for the 
fact that, in the past, standards have been set 
for particular subjects with almost complete dis¬ 
regard for standards in other subjects or in 
general education. Sane educational planning 


will set itself firm standards but it will not forget 
that you cannot always pay Peter without taking 
something from Paul. 

Under what headings, then, shall we assess 
standards in modern education? The following 
list was agreed for a general guide as an outcome 
of deliberations of the Education Committee of 
the English Section of the New Education Fellow¬ 
ship, supplemented from time to time by the 
generous assistance of visiting specialists: 

Group 1. Academic: The Three R’s; general know¬ 
ledge; specialist knowledge. 

Group 2. Creative and Expressive: art, music, drama¬ 
tics, etc.; manual crafts and domestic science; physical 
education (including hygiene). 

Group 3. Primarily Personal qualities: clear thinking, 
zest for life and work, application to tasks, willingness 
to learn, breadth of interest, initiative, self-reliance, 
awareness; self-discipline, sense of values, a philosophy 
of life (moral development); emotional maturity. 

Group 4. Primarily Social qualities: fluency in 
communication, a sense of responsibility, sound attitudes 
to others, including those in authority; social discipline, 
social skills (courtesy, etc.); co-operativeness. 

Such a list clearly has weaknesses. There is 
overlap between group and group; heading and 
heading. Again, two distinct types of standard 

A2 





84 


the new era May 1953 


arc included: standards in attainment and stand¬ 
ards in personal development. 1 he first can be 
laid down and evaluated with precision; the 
second cannot. Of course this list is not rigid 
or complete. Another committee would probably 
have shaped it rather differently. Nevertheless, 
a child who reaches appropriate standards in all 
the headings listed will be well equipped as person 
and citizen for life in the modern world — and 
none of these headings can be neglected without 
impairing that aim. 

This brings us to the problem of 'balance'. 
Educational standards cannot be considered good 
if a too intense concentration upon a too narrow 
field produces high subject standards at the cost 
of personal development. Nor can they be con¬ 
sidered good if essential skills and knowledge are 
neglected in an over-zealous pursuit of self- 
expression for the pupil. The supreme educa¬ 
tional standard is surely ‘wholeness’, since the 
individual’s supreme contribution to life is his 
personal uniqueness, educated and equipped to 
make its full contribution to the tasks and 
problems of the age. Such wholeness in the 
child will be impeded if the curriculum lacks 
balance. A child needs breadth of knowledge 
and understanding in order to feel rooted in his 
community, which he needs to do, and — what is 
equally important — in order to get himself and 
his culture into perspective. We can ask of any 
curriculum: ‘Seen as a whole, does this cur¬ 
riculum provide an adequate or an inadequate 
synthesis for a young person growing up in the 
modern world?' Standards for our time should, 
in fact, be applied to the curriculum as a whole 
as well as to the pupils who follow it. 

Similarly, no consideration of educational 
standards for our time can neglect standards in 
the community life of the school itself. How 
good are the pupil-teacher relationships, the 
parent-teacher relationships, the head-staff rela¬ 
tionships, the inter-staff relationships? Is the 
degree of participation and common purpose high 
or low? Does every child feel wanted and valued 
at the school? Such testing questions about 
community standards are not as vague as might 
be supposed. Research suggests that, unless 
special steps are taken to prevent it, about one 
child in ten is liable to be rejected by his class¬ 
mates. 1 'How many isolates are there in this 
school?’ is a question that should be asked to 

1 J. L. Moreno, Who Shall Survive? Beacon House, 1934. 


gauge social efficiency and it can be answered 
with considerable precision by using simple 
sociometric techniques. Another useful question 
of this order is: ‘How many of our children show 
permanent discouragement in their attitude to 
school life?’ Once the desire to attain good 
community standards exists, there need be little 
difficulty in finding useful yardsticks to apply. 

With so much to look at in an investigation 
of standards for the modern world, one may well 
wonder where to begin. However, it was decided 
that, in planning a series of numbers of The New 
Era, the right place to start was with the three R’s 
because they are at present the subject of con¬ 
troversy on all hands. The traditionalists accuse 
the progressives of not being interested in the 
three R’s at all; the progressives accuse the 
traditionalists of sacrificing much that is impor¬ 
tant in education to the attainment of a limited 
mechanical ability that never blossoms into self- 
expression. Over all is a gloomy muttering from 
employers and others about the decline in 
standards over the past 15 years. A few intro¬ 
ductory comments on the three R’s may, there¬ 
fore, be relevant at this stage. 

We can safely begin with two assertions: 

I. — Children who never attain fluency in self- 
expression and communication, who cannot read 
with sufficient ease for comprehension and enjoy¬ 
ment, and who cannot deal with the simple 
calculations that are an inevitable part of modem 
life, are not only retarded educationally but are 
seriously handicapped in personal and social 
development. Words are the symbols of thought 
and the essential tools of human communication. 
Inefficiency in their use isolates an individual 
from society and leaves him vulnerable to devas¬ 
tating discouragement and to retreat into apathy 
or anti-social compensation. Facility with words 
and number, in accordance with his ability, must, 
therefore, be regarded as of supreme educational 
importance for every child. 

II. — The standard of basic literacy to-day 
needs to be higher than at any time in the past. 
Television, radio and talking films, although they 
may have reduced the social incentive to master 
the basic skills, have in no way altered the fact 
that our technological civilization runs on the 
printed word and on the capacity of people to 
communicate effectively with each other. A 
democracy has to be literate. As democracy 
extends further into our institutions — as is 



May 1953 standards 

happening, for example, in industry to-day — the 
need for facility with words constantly extends. 

No one in his educational senses will, therefore, 
ever belittle the importance of the three R’s in 
education. Having agreed on that, however, we 
must take care to be objective about the matter. 
Those who seek to resist change in education are 
badly clouding the issue by suggesting that we 
have to ‘go back to the three R’s’. We need to 
ask ‘back to when?’ When was this educational 
golden age in which all but the educationally 
sub-normal children, we are led to assume, learnt 
to read, write, spell and number competently? 
One has only to probe a little to find that it 
never existed. In the past the sub-literate often 
escaped notice. Between 1921 and 1938, 14-2 of 
the working population, on average, were un¬ 
employed. 1 Moreover, many people of low ability 
were absorbed by unskilled, menial and low-paid 
jobs. Post-war Britain is almost fully employed, 
while low-paid menial work has almost been 
organized out of existence. These changes mean 
that many employers are having to make do 
with recruits of lower calibre than came their 
way in the Thirties. Furthermore, we now* have 
conscription—a supplementary testing of literacy 
of all men at 18. The post-war world has, there¬ 
fore, brought concealed sub-literacy right out into 
the open. The broken education of the war 
years did, of course, produce a decline in attain¬ 
ment, but this is, we hope, only temporary. 
Our post-war participant democracy needs— ; and 
will continue to need—higher standards of 

* Sir William Beveridge, Full Employment in a Free Society, page 47, 
Geo. Allen and Unwin, 1944. 


FOR OUR TIME g5 

literacy than were ever achieved in the past, 
coupled with such personal qualities as self-reliance, 
reliability , zest for work, alertness of mind and 
co-operative capacity. To achieve both will not 
be easy but the way to achieve it is plain enough: 
by devising interesting, carefully graded and care¬ 
fully balanced courses in schools that are them¬ 
selves vigorous, friendly, purposeful, democratic 
communities. Those who cry ‘back to higher 
standards are like generals trying to win new 
battles with outworn weapons. They can only 
lead us to confusion and defeat. Our purpose 
must be to go forward to higher standards of 
personal and academic development. 

I have tried in this preliminary article to show 
both the need for reassessment of educational 
standards and that such reassessment is by no 
means a simple task. I hope that the series of 
articles to follow may help to probe existing 
confusions, promote discussion, and so lead a few 
steps towards a successful outcome. So far as 
Britain herself is concerned, I feel a particular 
sense of urgency. Nothing less than a wide¬ 
awake, fully literate community will see her 
through the difficulties she has to surmount in 
the present and the future. She needs her 
people to be fully skilled, intellectually, emo¬ 
tionally, socially, morally, culturally and physic¬ 
ally. We need to reach sources of morale, 
co-operation, vitality and purpose hitherto un¬ 
tapped in times of peace. Education alone cannot 
achieve this; but neither can it be achieved unless 
the right purposes pervade education. New 
thinking about standards will help to get these 
purposes clear. 


LITERACY THROUGH ACTIVITY 


Nancy Allmark, Headmistress of the Infants' School, St. Stephen's Infant and Junior School , Paddington, London 


O UR school comprises infants’ and junior 
departments. We are housed in an old 
building, crowded and cramped. This 
article is chiefly about the infants’ department, 
partly because I know it best, but also because I 
feel that what goes on there has a great deal to 
do with whether or not the children become really 
literate by the time they reach adolescence. 

The activity approach has been used in both 
infants’ and junior schools for some years now, 
indeed the present year is of particular interest to 
us because the first group of pupils who have 
learned all the way through by activity methods 


have just sat for the grammar school selection 
examination. Towards the end of the article I 
shall make a comment on their results. They were 
good, but we do not want to claim too much from 
a first return. 

I think I should start by outlining what the 
staff here mean by the much-used word Activity . 
We aim at four things: to make the best possible 
use of a child’s energy and interests in educating 
him; to see that he passes on to the junior school 
able to read and write as well as his capacities 
permit; to preserve intact the zest for doing and 
learning which he shews when he joins us at five 




86 


the new era May 1953 


years old or slightly younger; and to relate the 
three R’s to the child's general development. 

We can see no other way of achieving these 
objectives simultaneously unless the child plays 
his full, active part. We know that children 
develop socially, emotionally and intellectually by 
discovering, experimenting and doing: that the 
surest way to help them mature into well-balanced 
adults is to use their experiences as a medium for 
learning. In order to do so, a child must feel free. 
Given freedom and a good environment, relation¬ 
ships, and guidance, a child will use his own 
impulses and interests in order to learn, and will 
develop as a personality at the rate natural to 
him — growing, learning, and acquiring skills at 
one and the same time. I o us, these facts are 
self-evident. They are also, as it happens, sup¬ 
ported by a good deal of research. 1 But anyone 
who comes to the task of teaching children with 
an open, sympathetic mind will discover them 
over again for herself. 

Of course, this approach to education makes it 
important that the teacher should know each 
child as an individual, and should know his 
parents and his background also, in a way that 
is less necessary where standardized mass tech¬ 
niques are used. Classes of forty and over make 
knowing our children extremely difficult. Never¬ 
theless, a good deal can be done, even in difficult 
circumstances, provided that teachers really have 
the will to do it. 

Now let us look at another fundamental ques¬ 
tion—what do we mean by ‘literate’ ? During 
the last war it became apparent that future 
generations of children would have to be educated 
more generously. If they were to become good 
citizens, they should be able and keen to read 
about and understand the ideas and experiences 
of others and to express their own clearly and 
vividly. Standardized routines in school can never 
attain this aim; it can be attained only if the 
child's own interest is engaged; there is no other 
way. 

What, in practical terms, is the method we 
adopt in laying the foundations of the vigorous 
literacy at which we are aiming ? First, we 
believe that language, like any other skill, requires 
plenty of practice. For most of the day, therefore, 
the children are free to converse at will. Further, 
we encourage them to talk to us. When smal l 

1 For example, I). E. M. Gardner's Testing Results in the Infant's 
School and Long-Term Results of Infant School Methods (Methuen, 1942 
and 1951 respectively) — E d. 


children arrive at school in the morning, they are 
usually bursting with some item of news which 
they should be allowed to impart to a sympathetic 
teacher. It may be a birthday or only a bump, but 
to the child it is important. Talking about what 
matters to you is good practice — apart from the 
fact that a small child cannot apply himself to 
anything else until he has got what he most wants 
to say off his chest. Moreover, if we seem too 
impatient or hurried, he will neither express 
himself well nor be able to turn to other interests. 

After the interchange of greetings and news, 
there follows a long free-play period (‘long’ for 
the children; actually it is about 15-60 minutes) 
when all arc free to choose what they want to do 
and for how long. The choice offered to the 
youngest children is wide and varied and includes 
such things as sand, water, clay, paint, woodwork, 
building bricks, ‘dressing-up’ things, a Wendy 
House, and a shop. The older children graduate 
from free play to constructive activities arising 
from a communal centre of interest. This period 
provides good social training: groups form, shy 
children are helped to play with others, and so 
forth. But it has a more strictly educative aim; 
it trains the child in discussing to some purpose, 
and it provides raw material of experience upon 
which we base language work later in the day. 
A child who either cannot or will not read and 
understand a sentence in a book can readily be 
induced to read, understand and write a sentence 
about some very recent experience. 

After milk at 10.30 (which we try to make a 
sociable, pleasant occasion), we have playtime 
outside from 10.45-11. Then, usually, there 
follows an hour of English Activities. (I say 
‘usually’ because this period has to come at other 
times on some days owing to pressure on the one 
large room we have available. We have no hall.) 
This period is of immense importance to their 
reading and writing. In it we cover the more 
formal side of English work, drawing fully upon 
experiences still bubbling in the children’s minds. 
For example, we convert material arising from 
talking about the previous activities into sentences 
which the children dictate to the teacher, who 
writes them on the board. Pieces of paper on 
which these sentences are copied may be stitched 
together by the teacher to form first reading 
books. These are kept in a special corner where 
children can read each other’s work. Sharing 
each other’s work is good reading practice and 






May 1953 literacy 

teaches the infants to adjust to slight differences 
in word and letter symbols. 

Reading and writing thus develop together, 
though the children also do special writing work. 
They start by drawing large circles and straight 
definite lines on large sheets of paper, first with 
paint brushes and, later, with fat pencils. This 
leads to making smaller circles and lines, to 
forming patterns with them, and then to actual 
letters. From this stage the children progress 
first to Marion Richardson writing pattern exer¬ 
cises, and then to copying short sentences, as 
described earlier. Children enjoy these writing 
activities, often the less intelligent particularly so. 

Readiness for reading as well as for writing is 
promoted by using written words for all sorts of 
things in the daily life of the class. Common 
objects are labelled, notices put up, so that from 
the moment the children enter the school they 
find themselves in a community where we make 
words work for us. Very soon the infants are 
themselves sharing in making the labels and 
notices. 

Since this incidental reading and writing makes 
a big contribution to the development of basic 
skills, it may be worth while to go into more 
detail. After they have learnt to write letters, 
children make labels for the classroom, such as 
‘table’, ‘window’, ‘shop’. From labelling, we 
progress to writing simple sentences of description 
or instruction, such as: 

This is a table. 

Here we play with sand. 

Please close the door quietly. 

Only clean hands may handle these books. 

Another progression is from games based on 
action-flash-cards on which are printed single 
directions: ‘run’, ‘walk’, ‘jump’, ‘bring’, ‘count’. 
The child does what the card says. At the next 
stage the teacher combines the action-word with 
a particular instruction such as: 

Run to the door. 

Walk to the window. 

Count the milk bottles. 

Another progression is from single words des¬ 
cribing the day’s weather—‘rain’, ‘sun’, ‘snow’, 
‘dry’, ‘wet’—to keeping a weather diary. Those 
able to do so also keep a diary about our pets— 
hamsters only in the infants’ school, I am afraid; 
there is no room to be more ambitious. The chil¬ 
dren also keep their own individual diaries. These 
activities keep them keen and busy learning and 


87 

using words. Such activities produce great mutual 
stimulation among the children — a great help to 
the less able ones. There is always keen rivalry 
to put up and, later, to write such class notices as: 

It is Peter's birthday to-day. 

John and Mary are milk waiters. 

These various activities rapidly develop reading 
readiness. Indeed, we slip naturally from flash- 
cards used for games to flash-cards and wall- 
pictures based on our basic reading course — the 
Janet and John books. 1 The moment a child 
seems ready for it, he is put on to the first book, 
Here We Go. We have selected this particular 
series of first readers for our central course as the 
words first introduced are familiar to the child as 
spoken words, because the incidents which the 
words describe are interesting to the small child 
and fall naturally within his experience, and 
because the pictures are attractive. However, we 
do not use this series exclusively but have built 
up class libraries containing other good first 
readers series, such as Evans’ Activity Readers, 
Beacon (Ginn), Happy Venture (Oliver & Boyd), 
Radiant Way (Chambers), Kingsway Readers 
(Evans Bros.), Mac & Tosh (Schofield and Sims), 
John and Mary (Schofield and Sims), The Gay 
Way (Macmillan), Field Readers (Ginn), Happy 
Way Reading (Blackie) and others. 

Once launched on the readers, the children pass 
from one to another as they gain facility. We 
avoid dreary repetition, believing that the more 
adventurously a child reads the better. That is 
why we keep a class library. Our more advanced 
readers choose what books they like from it. 
Individual reading may take place in English 
Activity periods but, during the course of the 
week, special periods are set aside specifically for 
reading practice: the more able read privately; 
the ones who need help are coached. We also 
have occasional poetry and dramatic periods and 
a daily period when the teacher tells a story. 
Additional verbal practice is provided by short 
‘News’ periods interspersed throughout the weekly 
time-table. I should add that we include a certain 
amount of phonic work. 1 his helps children to 
work out for themselves what a new word means 
when they meet it in one of the library books. 

I wrote earlier that we consider it to be our job 
in the infants’ department to pass on all children 
to the junior school reading to the limit of their 
potentiality. How far do we succeed ? We keep 


THROUGH ACTIVITY 


i Published by J. Nisbet & Co., Ltd. 






88 


THE NEW ERA 


May 1953 


records of the actual reading stage reached and 
compare chronological and reading ages. When 
the last test was made, 37 of the class were present. 


Of these: 

2 are at the stage of the 1st Janet and John book 
6 ,, it ii 2nd ii ii •» 


8 ii ii ii 3rd ii ii ii 

12 ii ii ii 4th ii ii ii 

9 ,, „ „ general library reading. 

Of the whole group of 37 — 

Average chronological age: 7-385 years. 

„ reading age: 7-37 ,, 

We have some reason to believe, therefore, that 
our teaching methods are on the right lines as 
Reading age 


the ratio 7 


Chronological age 


= 1 is the theoretical 


optimum level of attainment in a non-selected 
sample of the child population and we are short 
of this by only a small fraction. Although this 
collective assessment suggests that we are not 
seriously neglecting any child’s potentialities, we 
do not, of course, depend on it but also watch 
carefully each child's development as an indi¬ 
vidual. We have not, so far, found it possible to 
correlate mental age with attainment on an 
individual basis. 

How about the two children still at the first 
book stage ? We have no accurate record of their 
intelligence, but these two are obviously poorly 
endowed. Even so, we believe that they should 
leave school at 15 with a reasonably useful, 
though backward, attainment in reading so long 
as their present interest, application and rate of 
progress are maintained. 


In the Junior School 

How is the activity method of promoting 
literacy continued in the junior school ? Here, 
also, the core of their work is personal interest, 
directed, of course, to more mature outlets than 
the free play materials of the infants' stage. 

During the past term, the youngest class in the 
junior school has had as its centre of interest 
‘The Circus', arising from Christmas holiday 
activities. The children have made posters, 
notices and programmes, composed little poems, 
made individual ‘Circus Books', developed their 
own dramatization of circus incidents. W riting, 
painting, constructive work and a great deal of 
talking have been involved. 

The centre of interest of the next class has, this 
term, been 'The Clothes We W ear'. I his has 


replaced separate lessons in history, geography 
and nature study, as well as providing oppor¬ 
tunities for all kinds of English work. The chil¬ 
dren have written away for materials and for 
information, have procured pictures for their 
individual scrap books, and have gathered 
material from reference books in the Public and 
class libraries. Eight and nine-year-old children 
are quite capable of such work if they have learnt 
application and self-reliance at earlier stages. 

Procedures in other classes are similar. The top 
class has been engaged upon a project called 
‘Peoples of the W'orld’. The class is divided into 
groups and each group studies the country of its 
choice and produces its own book on the country. 
Each group is also writing a play about its 
country as well as collecting stories, songs and 
historical events of the country. Many letters 
have been written. These letters often produce 
most valuable replies — and some exceptional ones. 
Last year, a boy from the top class—it was 
studying London as a project — wrote to Sir Leslie 
Bowker, the City Remembrancer, for information 
on traditional ceremonies. Sir Leslie not only 
replied but came in person to give a talk to the 
class. I do not cite this in order to encourage 
other schools to write to the same person. (He is 
an extremely busy man, which made us all the 
more appreciative of his kindness.) 1 mention it 
as an example of how some public persons are 
glad to do what they can to help teach young 
children about the life of their community. 

There are in the junior school curriculum many 
other, more incidental, activities which help 
children to value English for its day-to-day uses 
as they have already learnt to do at the infant 
stage. The children keep nature records — no 
longer just the labels and sentences of the infant 
stage but detailed description and information 
about specimens, aquarium and pets. I hey 
record experiments — the growth of beans in light 
and darkness for instance. The most interesting 
of these pieces of nature study writing are bound 
together as the class Nature Magazine. The 
children keep written records of their own pro¬ 
gress in reading and arithmetic. They write 
passages to describe their own paintings. They 
keep individual diaries and build individual 
dictionaries and spelling lists. The senior classes 
produce class magazines entirely by themselves, 
as well as class wall newspapers with pictures and 
comments on current events. 



May 1953 literacy through activity 39 


The teacher’s role in this incidental English is 
to stimulate, guide and encourage. We sometimes 
hang up provocative sentences and challenging 
statements designed to set the children thinking 
and finding out. Good standards are maintained 
by the keenness with which the children emulate 
each other’s best. Suggestions and corrections 
from the staff are welcomed because the children 
want to produce good work. They do not just 
accept our help, they are positively grateful for it. 
Good, clear writing is valued socially because it is 
easy to read. The teachers, in fact, are all the 
time working with the children’s own eager desire 
to improve. The children do not work hard to 
please the teachers only, but because they and 
their group have set themselves a high standard 
of excellence 

Of course, we take especial pains with the less 
able or they may be cut off from a sense of 
achievement because their standard of attainment 
is comparatively low. 

At the junior stage there are no set reading 
books. The children choose their own from a 
carefully-graded library. To help them in their 
attack on new words, we do give some formal 
teaching of phonics. Children enjoy this because 
they see its value. Comprehension is tested regu¬ 
larly by work sheets. 

The rudiments of grammar and punctuation 
are taught in relation to function. The children 
learn to identify ‘name words’ and ‘doing words’. 
We teach the elements of punctuation from their 
own books—including ‘comics’. (We find they 
soon grasp the use of inverted commas if we tell 
them that ‘anything which would go in a speech 
balloon in a comic must be put in inverted commas 
when you write it down.’) We sometimes use 
dictation as a test of spelling. We also use the 
English Work Books published by Ginn—chil¬ 
dren work through these at their own pace. It 
will be seen that our whole aim is to enable 
children to write useful and interesting things, to 
find out what they need to know, to read with 
enjoyment. But we include a certain amount of 
formal teaching which the children can them¬ 
selves see that they need if they are to attain the 
standards they desire in their activities. 

Does it work ? We believe it does. We believe 
that all our children are striving and developing 
whereas traditional formal methods would have 
turned some of them into discouraged ‘backward 
children’. We measure and check our attainment 


as well as we can, using standardized tests, and 
average attainment has steadily improved. We 
have now been using activity methods in both 
infant and junior departments for five years. 
Our present top class have, therefore, had no 
other kind of schooling. Our present entrants do 
better than our previous ones although the type 
of children we have, the pattern of tests used and 
the proportion of grammar school places available 
have remained the same. I would like to give 
figures but am not allowed to do so. However, 
the following combined English and Arithmetic 
average marks for our top junior school class in 
standardized tests administered each February by 
ourselves give an indication of the general upward 
trend: 

Year: 1950 1951 1952 1953 

Average mark: 71*4 87-9 91*5 91*3 

This year’s figures show a slight recession. They 
may mean that we are approaching the ‘ceiling’ in 
terms of the capacities of our children. On the 
other hand, the junior school was evacuated 
throughout the Christmas Term of 1952 owing to 
building repairs. This upheaval may have pulled 
down this year’s standards. Our own view is that 
we must never rest content but must look care¬ 
fully at what we are doing and how the children 
are responding to it. We believe that we have 
found the right road towards improving simul¬ 
taneously standards of social, personal and 
scholastic development. We believe, further, that 
the three are interdependent and that by refining 
our existing methods we can stabilize and improve 
on the advances already made. We have been at 
it too short a time to make any dogmatic claims; 
but we are very hopeful and, I think, have some 
reason to be so. 


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STANDARDS FOR TEACHERS OR FOR 

CHILDREN? 

£. M. Churchill , Senior Lecturer in Education at the City oj Leeds Training College 


H ow can I know whether the standard of 
work being achieved by my children is 
satisfactory ? What should a child be able 
to achieve in the three R’s before he leaves the 
Infant School ? What kind of sums should he be 
able to tackle successfully before he leaves the 
Junior School ? How can I know that I am on 
the right lines ? 

This demand for a yard stick against which 
teachers can measure the success of what they 
are doing is constantly voiced in these days by 
conscientious teachers who sincerely desire to be 
assured that they are doing their best for the 
children. The demand has been more vocal 
recently owing to the challenge thrown out by 
members of the public, and to reactionary trends 
evident within the teaching profession. 

It seems necessary, therefore, to consider 
whence this demand arises, and whether it is 
possible to give teachers more explicit guidance 
than is given at present. A few Local Authorities 
have issued a statement of Minimum Attainments 
in response to repeated requests from teachers; 
others feel that there are grave dangers attached 
to suggestions of this kind. 

What follows is one teacher’s contribution to 
this problem. No doubt much of what is said will 
be a matter for controversy and it is hoped that 
others may take up the challenge in further 
contributions. 

I believe this desire for standards and yard 
sticks to arise from a deep-seated need for 
approval. It seems to me that in our asking we 
are not unlike the small child in the Reception 
Class who brings his paintings to the teacher to 
see what she will say about them. For him the 
teacher stands in the parental role and it is 
vitally necessary for him to know what kind of 
thing she likes, as he desires fervently to stand 
well with her. He will, if she allows him, accept 
quite uncritically her judgment of what is good, 
and will give her as many pictures as she will 
accept of the kind to which she has set her seal of 
approval. One can see at this level how easy it is 
for the teacher to curb imagination and cramp 
spontaneity, though she may be quite unconscious 
that her comments have that effect. 


In the same way, it is true of many adults that 
they still need someone, or some authority, to 
stand towards them in the parental role; to tell 
them what is good, what they should aim at. 
what standards they should attain to. For many 
of us examinations have provided the yard stick, 
and it is not insignificant that since the Grammar 
Schools were relieved of this to a certain extent, 
there has been a cry from some for a reversion to 
the old system. Some teachers seek for the parent 
in the H.M.I., and wait for his visits to know 
whether what they are doing is satisfactory or 
not. It may be that some inspectors are happy 
to assume this role, but I think it would be truer 
to say that more often we thrust the role upon 
them. 

It would be foolish to pretend that this is the 
whole explanation of the demand for standards, 
but if we do not accept the fact that the demand 
is in part an expression of our own unconscious, 
we shall be in no position to examine the de¬ 
sirability of standards from the objective point 
of view. 

Undoubtedly one of the reasons for this demand 
is that for the last few years we have been re¬ 
orientating our approach to education, particu¬ 
larly in the Infant School. Many teachers feel 
that the time has come to re-examine the 
assumptions underlying the new approach and 
consider them in the light of our experience. How 
does the attainment of children in these schools 
compare with the attainment of children educated 
in the traditional manner ? Even if we are not by 
nature self-critical, the judgments expressed by 
members of the public, in the courts, in Parlia¬ 
ment, and in the Press would cause us to look at 
our methods and consider where there is any 
justification for the assumption sometimes made 
that teachers are responsible for illiteracy and 
juvenile crime. The fact that much of what is 
said is the irresponsible comment of members of 
the public who have to find a scapegoat for the 
social problems which exist does not excuse us 
from the responsibility of re-examining our 
premises from time to time. 

There are signs already of a reactionary move¬ 
ment among educationists themselves, and it is 


90 


May 1953 


STANDARDS FOR TEACHERS OR FOR CHILDREN 


91 


vitally necessary just now that teachers should be 
convinced in their own minds about the rightness 
of what they are doing. There is a danger that at 
a time such as this, when our approach is being 
challenged, we should revert to the old pattern. 
This is the child’s way of reacting to disapproval. 
There is no reason to retrace our steps just 
because we have not always put our principles 
into practice successfully, or because we have 
expressed these principles in language which is 
not always clear and is sometimes risible. We 
must be able to learn from the great thinkers or 
teachers of the past, but the only justification for 
going back to the more formal methods of educa¬ 
tion would be if we were convinced that the levels 
of achievement in all aspects of personality 
development were higher under the traditional 
system. 

To provide an education in which learning 
proceeds through activity and experience is not 
nearly so easy as it sounds. It lays a responsi¬ 
bility on the teacher which has not always been 
realized by those who are trying to put the prin¬ 
ciple into practice. In some cases the criticism 
behind the remark that children seem to do 
nothing but play in school is justified because 
there has not been sufficient thought given to 
providing for activity and experience which is 
really challenging, particularly to children from 
cultured homes and to children of more than 
average ability. Unless ‘play’ becomes a means 
through which skills are being developed, an 
understanding and appreciation of the world 
around being enlarged, and the special gifts of 
imagination being challenged, then the parent 
who feels there is not much point in sending his 
child to school might be justified. 

Of course teachers know that play activities 
are a means through which emotional and social 
needs are met, and through which growth towards 
maturity can be fostered. They know, too, that 
children do not distinguish between work and 
play as adults do. But unless we are quite sure 
that the intellectual abilities are being fully active 
in the play then something is wrong. Someone 
said recently, There is an awful opportunity for 
the escapist in the freer methods of to-day.’ 1 hat 
is true, and every teacher should realize it. It is 
our responsibility to see that children develop the 
ability to settle down to a job of work and to 
complete it to the best of their ability. It is our 
responsibility also to see that they begin to realize 


that sometimes they have to apply themselves to 
tasks which are not so intrinsically interesting to 
them. 1 here are children who for one reason or 
another will not tackle the learning task unless 
their attention is demanded by the teacher. One 
has, of course, to understand the reason for 
'laziness’ in any particular child and approach the 
problem in the light of this knowledge, but this 
does not mean that we allow him to continue to 
waste the opportunities school life has to offer. 

It is significant that when people speak of 
standards of attainment they usually mean attain¬ 
ment in reading, writing and number, but it is 
vitally important to consider attainment in all 
realms of personal achievement, otherwise we are 
in danger of fostering some aspects of personality 
development at the expense of others. Social 
achievements, emotional maturity, physical skills, 
intellectual interest, creative expression are as 
much part of the picture of attainment as are 
reading ability, handwriting, spelling, and facility 
in calculation. 

If this is so then perhaps these are some of the 
questions we might ask ourselves: 

Are the children developing a sense of social responsi¬ 
bility ? 

Have they begun to discipline their own natural 
desires for the sake of the group ? 

Are they able to make a contribution to the com¬ 
munity as well as taking what it has to offer ? 

Are they developing self-confidence ? 

Are they beginning to be able to evaluate the quality 
of their work, or do they rely entirely on the teacher to 
give them a sense of achievement ? 

Are they beginning to form their own moral judg¬ 
ments or is their behaviour determined by their desire 
for approval or fear of punishment ? 

Are they showing curiosity in relation to the world 
around them ? 

Are they discovering ways of satisfying this curiosity 
through observation and the use of books ? 

Is casual delight and ‘sight seeing’ developing into 
habits of sustained observation and critical apprecia¬ 
tion ? 

Have they begun to enjoy reading and to discover 
some of the delights of our literary heritage ? 

Have they begun to discover that books are a means 
by which we can discover the answers to things we 
do not know, and a means of adding to our knowledge ? 

Are they developing the same facility in written 
expression which they show in other forms of com¬ 
munication ? Is this an expression of experience which 
has been felt as well as thought about ? 

Have they begun to understand some of the quantita¬ 
tive relationships which we need to understand in order 
to carry out so many of the activities of everyday life ? 

Are they able to use their knowledge to solve the 
practical problems of everyday life which involve these 
relationships ? 

Even when we put the problem of assessment 
in this wider context we must be aware of the 


THE NEW ERA 


92 

pitfalls. Intellectual growth is a matter of the 
interaction of inherited abilities, which are de¬ 
veloping throughout school life, with the experi¬ 
ences and opportunities which are offered by the 
environment. The same is true also of the factors 
which influence emotional and social develop¬ 
ment. It is also true of physical development. 
Children vary greatly both in their inheritance 
and in the richness of their environment, and 
therefore the attainment of each child can only 
be measured fairly against the standard of which 
he is capable. As soon as we have said this it 
becomes obvious that we are not in a position, 
and probably never will be, to make such a 
judgment with any degree of accuracy, and we 
may do grave injustice to a child by demanding 
a certain standard of attainment simply because 
he is of the same chronological age, or mental age, 
or with a comparable home background as 
another child who is reaching this standard. 
What we can and should do is to satisfy ourselves 
that we are doing all we can to make progress 
possible and that each child is on the move. 

Another danger in standards fixed according to 
the attainment of children of average ability is 
that those below this level will be forced to work 
at a pace which is beyond their capacity and will 
in consequence suffer the frustration of constant 
failure which may in time rob them of all joy in 
learning. At the other end of the scale it is 
possible that those with exceptional ability will 
never have these abilities challenged by their 
school work and this may lead to boredom and 
lack of effort. 

Every teacher with some years of experience in 
different schools knows that the level of attain¬ 
ment reached by the children is influenced not 
only by the quality of the teaching in the school, 
but by the children’s social environment. If she 
does not accept this both she and the children 
suffer from constant frustration, and the joy of 
co-operative learning and the sense of purpose 
and achievement which result are lost. 

Is there then no yard stick for the teacher ? I 
think the answer is no, if it is being asked for in 
the form of a statement of standards of attainment 
in school subjects. As teachers we must be pre¬ 
pared to accept responsibility for our own con¬ 
victions and develop the habit of assessing for 
ourselves the success of our approach. This means 
that we must be aware of our own standard of 
values. If we are fully aware of these we can 


May 1953 

look for signs that they are finding expression in 
the behaviour of the children. Perhaps some of 
these signs are to be found in their responsiveness 
to new experiences; in their capacity for delight 
in beauty; in their ability to think independently, 
to use initiative and to co-operate; in their enjoy¬ 
ment in experimenting, exploring and discovering; 
and in their skill in handling the tools of com¬ 
munication. The order in which these have been 
listed is intentional. Far too often we ask children 
to be creative and to communicate without first 
making sure that we are nurturing the creative 
spirit and that they are having experiences which 
seem to them worth while communicating. 

We must learn how to feel free to follow our 
own intuitive judgments, to be spontaneous and 
experimental in the delicate task we have under¬ 
taken. We must be flexible enough to adapt our 
methods as our understanding of child nature 
grows and we must be humble enough to learn 
from others; but we cannot be taught how to do 
our job by people who have not got the knowledge 
of how children feel, think and learn which we can 
have if we are making good use of our daily 
experience with them. Nor should we allow 
ourselves to be frightened into retreat by people 
who know so little about what goes on in Infant 
classrooms to-day as to confuse freedom with 
licence and chaos, and who seem to assume that 
in these days the teacher has relegated her 
responsibilities to the children. 

It is natural for man to dislike being in a state 
of uncertainty and doubt but we have to recognize 
that ‘tension is an essential feature of the forma¬ 
tive processes in man' (Whyte). As Keats said, 
‘There is a quality of “negative capability’’ which 
is essential to the Man of Achievement. It is the 
power of being in uncertainties, mysteries and 
doubts, without any irritable reacting after fact 
and reason.’ It is the attitude which Wordsworth 
describes as ‘a wise passiveness’. It is the attitude 
which every creative artist has to cultivate; 
without it he loses the capacity to respond to 
Truth and Beauty. Perhaps this is what Froebel 
meant when he said that ‘education in training 
and in all instruction should be far more 
passive and following than categorical and 
prescriptive.’ 

Throughout this article we have recognized the 
need felt by adults and children alike for some 
criteria of judgment. This necessity arises from 
a fundamental human need for both appreciation 


May 1953 standards for teachers or for children 93 


and criticism, without which we do not feel secure. 
We have been concerned to see how the teacher 
can deal with this at his own level, but as teachers 
we must recognize that we have to meet this need 
in children. If either, or both, are withheld the 
self-confidence and emotional maturity, which 
develop where there is a sense of acceptance, may 
be retarded. Too often we do children an injustice, 
either by offering them a facile appreciation or 
by the frequency of our criticism. The teacher 
has to decide when to give and when to withhold, 


as well as how to give. He can only do this by 
developing in himself the ability to wait and by 
learning to trust his own intuitive judgments. As 
Schiller said, There is a necessity in education 
for a kind of active indifference, a state of fruitful 
equilibrium. If a teacher is to gain true expression 
for his pupils he must be capable of being in this 
state.’ The ability to hold to standards within a 
flexible method is thus seen to be a reflection of 
the teacher’s own personality, because it is the 
outcome of his ability to deal with himself. 


BASIC SKILLS AND MUCH BESIDES 

Jessie Horsbrugh, Headmistress , Sherwood County Primary School , Mitcham , Surrey 


E ducation seems to be the butt of much 
grumbling in the daily press and elsewhere 
at present, and the words that most usually 
voice this grumbling are ‘falling standards’. 
Teachers may resent the grumbling or ignore it 
because they feel that the words no longer have 
any very precise meaning in an educational system 
that sets out to educate each child according to 
his age, aptitude and ability. What they cannot 
easily do is to recognize the real and legitimate 
anxieties that may well lie behind the criticism, 
nor even admit that they themselves have their 
own anxieties about how best to carry into prac¬ 
tice the aims embodied in the 1944 Education Act. 

In order partially to meet this difficulty, I have 
been asked to describe a County Primary School 
which has a broader aim than drilling children 
for speed and accuracy in the three R’s and yet 
where most of the children do achieve these 
skills. 

Two ‘Musts’ in the Junior School 

I believe there are two essentials to the Junior 
School teachers’ work: first, they must be pre¬ 
pared to teach the basic skills—if need be from 
the very beginning—and go back and test the 
foundations throughout the Primary School course. 
If they do not know fully how to do these things, 
then the Local Education Authority should pro¬ 
vide courses for them, and the whole staff should 
be ready to help each other in perfecting their 
teaching skills; secondly, there must be real 
co-operation and continuity between those who 
teach children, particularly perhaps the less- 
gifted children, throughout their ten years of 
schooling. This means that the Junior School 


teacher must try to establish really friendly 
relationships both with the Infants’ Schools 
wdiich ‘feed’ his school and with the various 
Secondary Schools to which his children will be 
going on. 

It has always been assumed that it is the role 
of the Infants’ School to teach the child to read 
and of the Junior School to give him practice in 
reading. If we are to admit, as we do to-day, 
that children are individuals and vary greatly 
in the pace at which they learn, then it is clear 
that what was once someone else’s task is now 
often the vital concern of the Junior School 
teachers also. They have in quite a number of 
cases to teach the actual reading skills, and in all 
cases to extend the child’s use of things. Ability 
to do this is part of their professional competence. 
But what matters most of all is their attitude of 
mind—a change of heart from ‘This has never 
been my job’ to ‘I am vitally concerned and must 
find out how best I can deal with the problem’. 
In a large Junior Mixed/Infants School, reading, 
for example, is the business of everybody and 
all learn from the experience of others. It can, 
of course, be tackled by withdrawing the slower 
children from their own classes (so breaking many 
friendships and interrupting social learning) and 
settling them down to learning nothing but the 
three R’s and cutting out the frills . 1 his would 

meet the demand of a good many parents and 
other citizens that education should return to the 
‘good old days’; yet were the days so good from 
the point of view of literacy? If parents notes 
are to be taken as an index, many must ha\ e left 
school in the not too distant past with a very 
small degree of skill in writing and spelling. 



94 


THE NEW ERA 


May 1953 


The question of continuity and co-operation 
between schools of all degrees is of paramount 
importance. The child grows naturally, and to 
make a sudden attempt to speed his growth 
when he reaches a new school without investi¬ 
gating the previous training often stops or retards 
this very growth which one wants to speed up. 
All the way through life, we tend to find that 
when a new phase of living begins, those in charge 
despise, in a small way, what has gone before. 
Schools get ‘half-baked teachers’, colleges get 
'immature adolescents', grammar schools get 
‘semi-literate scholarship children’ and the Junior 
School gets ‘infants that know nothing’—or so 
they all lead us to believe. Let us take it for 
granted, for a change, that what has been done 
previously may have been well done in the light 
of the children’s immediate needs—that the 
Junior School entrant, for example, who cannot 
read may possibly have laid foundations of 
confidence and interestedness in the Infants’ 
School without which he never could have 
learned to read. Understanding and goodwill is 
relatively easy in a Primary Department with 
juniors and infants; it requires a real effort when 
there are two or more schools feeding the same 
Department, but it is none the less necessary. 

Organization and Time-Table 

There are 450 children in this school, divided 
into nine classes of fifty, because there are 
nine classrooms. The classes are called by 
colours, hot numbers, and the grading is done 
exactly according to age unless there are very 
serious reasons for exceptions. The class is a 
family social unit and, since all basic work is done 
in groups, learning to each child’s full capacity 
does not create any great difficulties. The bright 
child is not kept back and neither is the duller 
child pushed so quickly that he loses confidence; 
but they all play and work together at such things 
as Games and Scripture where their knowledge 
and achievement may be more or less on a level. 
In their classrooms, fitted throughout with chairs 
and tables, the children are usually grouped ac¬ 
cording to reading ability. During the last two 
years, the classes go into sets for Arithmetic, 
graded according to ability after the setting of a 
basic test. These groups are not rigid and there 
is much reviewing of work and co-operative dis¬ 
cussion between the teachers taking the sets. At 
the moment 156 children are divided into five 


groups — a bright one of about thirty, a slow one 
of about fifteen, and three average groups. This 
grouping seems to me to be both possible and 
desirable for Arithmetic, but not for English 
which is so much a part of all Junior School 
activities. 

A great deal of real Nature Study is done since 
the school lies near a common which is rich in 
bird life as well as having a pond and quite a 
varied flora. Nature Study is all done in groups — 
each group working on an assignment of work as 
part of a school scheme. Much emphasis is laid 
on careful observation and thorough work which 
is seen to be important whether the teacher is 
there or not. Recording observations — and these 
arc actual observations, not dictated notes — and 
consulting reference books are an essential part 
of the scheme. All this leads to useful reading, 
correct spelling and much understanding of the 
use of writing. The habit of using good reference 
books is cultivated from the very beginning, so 
that the children know from the start how to 
acquire knowledge through their own efforts. 

The time-table also includes, each week, a 
period of one hour's Children's Time, when they 
are encouraged to choose and to work out their 
own ideas. It is often during this time that, 
of their own free will, basic skills are practised; 
so are skills learned in ordinary handwork lessons. 
When a questionnaire was set to the top class on 
things liked and disliked, one new boy wrote 
‘I hate Children’s Time. You have to think for 
yourself and I don’t like that.' Some children 
like to take refuge in being dictated to always — 
so do some adults. It is the thinking purposeful 
citizen we require in the present-day world. 

During the winter months Clubs are run on 
one afternoon a week. They are based on special 
interests of the staff, and so are very varied, 
including music, art, pottery, basketry, weaving, 
nature, games and country dancing, and so on. 
Notices about these are posted up and discussed 
by the children who then vote at the beginning 
of the year for their first and second choice. 
From these votes the groups are formed, having 
regard to the numbers which can be fitted into 
a specific group. These clubs cater for a cross- 
section of all children over the age of eight. This 
gives the teachers opportunities for getting to 
know all the children and affords the children 
the chance to choose for themselves one thing 
they are especially interested in and which they 


May 1953 basic skills and much besides 95 


have to stick to till Easter. At the end of this 
time a short display and exhibition is held to 
show what has been achieved during this time. 
The results are astonishing and give only one 
more proof of what can be accomplished when a 
vital interest is met and the numbers in a group 
are round about thirty. 

School visits and journeys are another part of 
the time-table (these being closely linked with 
the use of visual aids, geography, history and 
nature study). They are prepared with care, 
carried out with the minimum of fuss and give 
rise to a great deal of written work and use of 
reference books. They are chosen having regard 
to the children’s needs and interest and are often 
designed to fill in the necessary background for 
children who live on a large prefabricated estate. 
One very successful one was to Canterbury—a 
complete change of surroundings, when music, 
art, literature, geography, history and simple 
architecture all had their place during the six 
months’ course of preparation. 

In the summer term, fifteen of the senior 
children are going with me and one other member 
of the staff to Albury, a small village in the 
county. They will go to the village school, 
explore the surrounding country and the beautiful 
old County Town, and live with some of the 
school children. Their hosts will be coming to 
Mitcham to live with them for four days later in 
the term and we are planning to shew them 
something of London. Our children have already 
spent one day at Albury in preparation for this 
visit, and are busily at work planning and pre¬ 
paring for it. School visits of this local kind seem 
to me much the most suitable for junior School 
children, and an excellent preparation for journeys 
abroad once they are at their secondary schools. 

As they are meant to do, all these branches of 
work enlarge the children’s experience while 
adding to their knowledge through the use of the 
basic skills. They demand real effort and 
perseverance from the child, with a self-discipline 
which will be of inestimable value to him when 
he faces the modern world as an adult. 

Reading, Speech and Writing 

It is by the use of reading and English through¬ 
out the entire Junior School day and life that the 
improvement comes. The skills certainly need 
explanation, practice, often remedial work, but 
it is their application to everything a junior child 


does that renders them effective. One does not 
learn to cook by obtaining a diploma, setting it 
up in a frame on the wall and then never entering 
a kitchen again. 

Reading: One of the things that proves most 
valuable is the use of walls and screens for notices 
and pictures, in fact for a variety of written 
material. The main points appear to be that the 
things used should be interesting and attractive, 
well-lettered (but not so exquisite that no-one 
can ever bear to take them down !) and changed 
frequently. In this school at first, children tended 
to ignore notices until ones such as: 'If yon read 
this, ask me for a sweet ’ began to appear. The 
lists for outings and activities such as swimming 
were put up to be signed and once the lists were 
closed, the results were final. Children had to 
take the consequences of not reading or not 
noticing, and many mothers missed school 
functions because they had been unable to get 
tickets through their children. It may have 
seemed a hard lesson but it was an important one 
that has not had to be re-learnt. It is now 
tradition. There are also many things in the 
corridor, boxes of cards with suggestions for 
Children’s Time, for pictures to draw or paint, 
pages of notes on topical events, and so on. 


Braziers Park 

IPSDEN, OXON. Phone Checkendon 221 

Whitsun Festival of Music, Dance and Mime 

May 22—28 

Theme: “The Little Infanta” 

Lad by Eva Faithful I and Anna Garfield-Howe 

Join in the experiment of producing a ballet. It doesn t 
matter whether you have danced before or not . come 
and discover your talents. 

Inclusive charge, Friday to Thursday, £5 5 s - Whitsun week¬ 
end, Friday dinner to Tuesday breakfast, £3 1/s. 6a. tacn 

additional day, £1 2s. 

Write for particulars also of 

International Seminar, July 28-August 11 

Leader : Dr. C. Gattegno 

Sensory Summer School, August 19-September 2 
“Values in Conflict” 




96 


THE NEW ERA 


We use the Happy Venture books (Oliver and 
Boyd) for our basic reading. The most backward 
readers are marked unobtrusively with a hiero¬ 
glyphic in the register, and read aloud privately 
to their class teacher either daily or three times 
a week, according to their degree of backwardness. 
They feel this to be a mark of special interest and 
in no sense derogatory. As soon as a child can 
read, a wealth of other readers and story books 
is suggested, but we use Happy Venture through¬ 
out for checking up on solid progress. 

A school library has been established and is of 
great value because it is constantly used in con¬ 
nection with all subjects. The books are simply 
classified according to subject, looked after by 
child librarians, cared for but often handled. 
It is common to have a library. It is not so 
common for it to be well and truly useful. 

Speech: One of the most important parts of a 
Junior School child’s life is speech, and it is one 
that has often been neglected in the past. Speech 
training lessons yes, but speaking—very seldom ! 
One has only to go to any meeting or conference 
and listen to the people asking questions or 
answering arguments to realize this. Junior 
children, if given the chance, can speak a great 
deal in the right way, weighing up points with 
skill and often finding reasons for things that 
have been quite overlooked by adults taking part 
in the discussion. One small example of this 
came up when a class taking Assembly turned 
the order of the act of worship round and arranged 
the reading at the end 'because then the children 
are sitting down quietly, ready for the notices'. 
Events and things around often cause the children 
to talk, yet this has been repressed. Then we 
complain that the present-day child is apathetic. 
Children here act as guides in the school when 
our many foreign visitors come, and all are 
astonished at the wealth of detail which they 
point out on their rounds. 

Writing: Yet communication through speech 
does not always lead to writing, and juniors do 
need opportunity and incentive to write. Writing 
is both a craft and a means of communication, 
and is treated as such. The children use ink at 
first in Children’s Time, when they experiment 
with pens and coloured inks in pattern work. 
Then when the pen is a familiar tool, they use it 
first for actual writing lessons and then for their 
work. They often display for our pleasure, pieces 
of writing by a whole class, and they are highly 


May 1953 

critical, although in a friendly way, of their own 
and others' efforts. They are also taught to look 
back at their own first efforts and to say, we hope, 
‘How much better this is’. We asked some of 
the ten-year-olds to write their own school reports 
this term, and were most encouraged by the 
justice, good sense and self-knowledge they 
betrayed in assessing their own work, interests 
and social behaviour. Writing is not only a skill, 
therefore; it is also a means of communication, 
linked with speech work. 

Each class takes over one week's Assembly in 
a term, taking hymns, readings, choral speaking 
of pieces such as the Beatitudes or dramatic 
work such as in the parable of the Good Samari¬ 
tan. Notes are written to me to inform me of the 
plan of the Assembly and also to the teacher 
who is playing the hymns. All school outings 
are reported orally, artistically and in written 
form. Competitions are run on Fridays in all 
aspects of Junior School work — reading aloud, 
poetry, talks on hobbies, table bees. The winners 
are chosen and often critized by the children 
themselves. Letters of all kinds are written — 
but they are necessary ones. They include letters 
enquiring about coaches; about trains, etc. for 
outings; letters of thanks to coach drivers, to 
people who have shewn the children round, to 
those who have prepared their meals, to children 
and staff who are ill — in fact on every occasion 
when writing is really useful. One here now 
reads: ‘I hope you will soon get well. I know 
how sore it is to have an “olser” in your throat. 
It must be horrid. Let us forget the troubles 
and talk about Spring' — this from a girl of nine 
to an absent member of staff. 

Arithmetic 

So far no mention has been made of Arithmetic 
as such. This should surely be planned so that it 
is related to the particular needs of the children 
and according to their ability. This does not 
mean only enough Arithmetic for football pools 
or newspaper competitions. Maybe in the ‘good 
old days’ Junior children did do problems about 
taps running into sinks with no plugs in, but 
people also had many time-wasting inconveniences 
to put up with, such as flat-irons heated on the 
embers! No one would suggest returning to 
these, so why in school there is this constant 
harping on ‘We always used to do' no one can 
tell. Of course, we all draw strength from the 


May 1953 


BASIC SKILLS AND MUCH BESIDES 


97 


HEINEMANN 


THE NEW WINDMILL SERIES 

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NEW TITLES: SPRING , 1953 

NO HIGHWAY by Nevil Shute 

The prince of modern story-tellers has here written one of his finest tales—about the men who design and fly 
the latest aircraft. 

BLOW THE MAN DOWN by Charles Vipont 

The story of a Wessex lad who went to sea in the 17th century. The book tells of his adventures at war and 
with pirates, and is based on authentic documents. Illustrated by Norman Hepple. As. 6 d. 

THE DARK MILE by D. K. Broster 

THE GLEAM IN THE NORTH by D. K. Broster 

The second and third book of the exciting triologv about the Jacobite rising that began in The Flight of the Heron 
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99 GREAT RUSSELL STREET, W.C.l 


past and its tradition, but a slavish conservatism 
(non-political !) over anything without reason is 
unworthy of an Elizabethan age. The children 
need practical handling of money, of weights, of 
capacity, of length, and of time, besides numbers. 
They enjoy problems and therefore learn rules 
to deal with them. In other words, the reason 
is there for the arithmetical work. Arithmetic is 
utilitarian except for some advanced children 
who will take pleasure in the science of numbers. 
It needs a plan and a place, but only a place; not 
a special one. We have to prove to a child who 
says ‘Why learn that? My dad’s just invented 
a machine to do it much more quickly’ that what 
he learns will have its uses even if they are not 
quite clear to him at the actual moment, but it 
must not be for a mythical use, in this age of 
machines. The plan here has been mentioned 
previously under the heading of ‘lime-table . 

Parent-Teacher Co-operation 

Here might be the moment to mention co¬ 
operation with the parents. They do so often 
seem to gloss over their own personal achieve¬ 


ments and we so often hear them say ‘I could do 
twice as well as this at his age’. How distance 
lends enchantment ! Others think they were 
better for severity or even harshness and seem to 
deplore the fact that their children like, even 
beg, to go to school. One even said: ‘They can’t 
make him work at school; he actually likes it’. 
Surely this is a reflection on our present-day 
standards, that to like and appreciate one’s work 
is to show oneself to be an oddity and even to be 
suspected of idling. Parents also tend to compare 
one child in the family with another and do not 
very often try to understand how much their 
children differ from each other, they look to 
class lists and places, and yet they fail to notice 
that John has gone up three places, not because 
of his efforts but because the three friends above 

him have obligingly got mumps. 

It is here that real understanding between 
parents and teachers helps; if they trust each 
other, so much can be done. Parents Handicraft 
evenings are held here each week, besides a 
monthly social or education meeting. During 
these evenings, over basketry and dress-making, 









98 


THE NEW era May 1953 


those personal contacts are made which do so 
much to foster the happiness and progress of the 
children. We have to show and prove to the 
parents that progress is being made, to point out 
that a slower start does not necessarily mean 
that the child will always be retarded; figures 
tend to show that great improvements come, 
with present-day methods, between the ages of 
seven and nine. It is natural for a parent to 
want his child to get on, but our task as teachers 
at the moment is to see that gossip and rumour 
are to some extent nullified by a clear explanation 
of what is actually happening in schools to-day. 

Parents need to feel once again that the school 
is a centre of learning for their children, looked 
after by people who are understanding and 
human while being knowledgeable. Their interest 
is very real, their concern genuine, and it is up to 
us to act as public relations officers between our 
work and them. It means harder work, not an 

JUNIORS AND THEIR 

Lilian Picrotti , Principal , 

he question of standards in education 
involves consideration not only of what 
standards should be but, even more im¬ 
portant, of what is the purpose of having stan¬ 
dards at all. Is the standard to be the production 
of a well-developed and balanced personality, a 
good citizen, a faithful worker, a leader, a follower 
—an individual capable of honest, independent 
thought and action, or a pair of hands in office or 
workshop ? The present criticism of the be¬ 
haviour and achievements of children, that is to 
say, the criticism of their education in all types 
of school and in their own homes, seems wholly 
superficial in that it disregards this wider question 
and merely concentrates on the immediate 
results, before the children’s powers come to 
fruition. 

The critics are judging from a past that has not, 
if the truth be told, produced such a very satis¬ 
factory present that they need be complacent 
about their own achievements. To-day the 
pattern of life has changed and this gives rise to 
a difference of emphasis if not of aim in educa¬ 
tion. Life to-day is more complex and difficult 
for adults than it was for the last generation when 
lines of conduct were more narrowly and, there¬ 
fore, more clearly defined. How much greater 
then are the demands made upon immature 


easement for teachers, when we train our children 
to think for themselves by giving them time of 
their own to use by our guidance, wisely and for 
things of value. 

Conclusion 

These ways of using the three R's in the Junior 
School do, as Janies Hemming says, ‘nourish the 
inherent capacities of the individuals . . . provide 
an equipment for earning a living in the world 
of to-day, and . . . preserve cultural continuity’, 
'fhe pattern is suited to the age and situation; 
it will, in the end, produce in this country a fully 
alive literate community. Let us therefore 
remember the words of Thomas Jefferson, ‘I 
steer my bark with hope ahead and fear astern’ 
and believe too, that even if our ‘standards' are 
slightly different from those of the past, they are 
really fitted for the task we have in hand. If we 
expect the best, children will certainly give it to us. 

EDUCATION TO-DAY 

Bcdjord Training College 

minds which have to face this complex society. 
They have to be helped to develop standards of 
conduct that are not merely imposed upon them 
but are so much a part of themselves that they 
will withstand the assaults that will inevitably 
be made in later life. 

No one would deny the desirability of some 
measure of attainment in the three R’s; but does 
this necessarily mean that every child leaving the 
Primary or Secondary school should be required 
to reach a definite standard of attainment; if so, 
what should that standard be ? It seems to me 
that the aim of education is not solely to produce 
‘literate’ beings — after all, we are given to under¬ 
stand that Shakespeare was not even consistent 
in the spelling of his own name — but to develop 
an individual mind with a moral attitude towards 
life. 

Looking back over a long teaching career, I 
cannot remember a time when employers failed 
to complain about the standards of education of 
youth and the poor attainments of adolescents. 
Similarly, there were always some teachers in 
Grammar and Secondary Schools who criticized 
the level of attainment of children entering their 
schools at the age of eleven plus, and some 
teachers in Junior Schools who were appalled 
at the ignorance of the seven-year-olds. Such 



May 1953 juniors and their education to-day 

criticism has been at times more vociferous and 
at others less so, but its justification was uni¬ 
formly doubtful. During the last twenty to 
thirty years much time, thought and research 
have been devoted to improving the processes 
of education in schools, for no other reason surely 
than to secure better results, both in terms of the 
three R’s and also in the development of children 
as happy and stable personalities, giving service 
to the community according to individual ability 
and taking a full share in responsibility for it. 

People who look back honestly to the schools of 
1910-1920 would have to admit that the work 
produced by children to-day is broader in con¬ 
ception, more alive, makes greater demands upon 
intellectual powers and is, therefore, fundament¬ 
ally of a better quality. It goes far beyond the 
confines of a rigid school syllabus of the past; 
it includes practice of the three R’s to a higher 
degree with less drudgery than during my early 
teaching years. In addition, the children’s 
participation in community life, their poise and 
social habits, are infinitely better. 

There are people who seem to advocate 
drudgery as a discipline for life, but if they would 
observe the high degree of 
concentration and determination 
evinced by a child in carrying 
out a simple repetitive process 
of his own choosing, or in 
attempting a highly complicated 
one beyond his powers, they Books 

might perhaps realize that the Each of these books contains: a large 
_7 _. . .. . . . . coloured picture of the subject; a simple 

self-disciplme involved IS more instructive story in large print with sug- 
, . . i i r gestions for class exercises; outline drawings 

lasting and, therefore, a more for use on blackboard, stencils, etc. ; reference 
i i i ■ •, ■ ,v notes for teachers; and diverse illustrations 

\ aluable acquisition than an\ to g Q w j t ^ the story, such as coloured end 

discipline imposed by authority, ^kes- s^nd*/-.'wntetleaflet. 

The purpose of writing is to 

convey an idea, but those who The Adventurous Journey 
so often write in the daily press 

... ,. . , . By Sybil Clarke. An exciting new reader 

extolling their own penmanship for children of 9-11. It is an adventure story 

or that of their generation m is we) | illustrated, in two parts, 2/6 each. 

their early years, seldom seem to 

give evidence of having used this Keeps Smiling 

skill for its primary purposes. 3y lvy H . Hewett . Another -Bobbo".... 

Rather, they remind one of the for Juniors. This new supplementary reader 

is illustrated in colour. 


99 

In my own school the usual time-table of short 
periods for each lesson and the limited syllabus 
of work were abolished and attempts were made 
to allow children to work at their own pace and 
to realize gradually the importance of the need 
to master each step before proceeding to the next. 

As the need arose they were helped and guided 
by the teacher who would suggest w'ays of meeting 
difficulties in construction, and of finding informa¬ 
tion wanted for specific purposes. Help was also 
given by other children who had themselves met 
similar problems, and so group responsibility and 
co-operation were gradually developed. They 
were fostered still further by certain forms of 
group work, for example, in getting to know' the 
names, details of construction and other informa¬ 
tion regarding ships and shipping in the London 
Docks; the dates of arrival and departure, the 
length of journeys, destinations and the cargoes 
carried. Such information, gained as a result of 
personal interest and investigation, gave a 
broader and sounder basis for history, geography 
and detailed calculation than would be gained 
from a traditional syllabus for class lessons. 
Further, the children learned how to learn, how 


PITMAN 


G-B Instructional ( hart 


Pitman 
fig B en 
Beaders 

"It is st ° the Te *chers’ B' n , hls F °re- 
the I ate p r ^( 1 Am encan ;; ne of 


1 / 6 . 


man who used to engrave the 
Lord’s Prayer on a sixpenny 

piece—a wonderful piece of Sir IsUilC Pitman & Sons Ltd. 
work, but one could only read Por/cer Su . Kingsuay • London, w.C.2 
it because one knew the Lord’s 
Prayer ! 


hlustrated in 

cnpt/ve leaflet. * Wr »te for des- 






100 the new era A lay 1953 


to acquire information, how to use it and record 
it, and were encouraged in an attitude of enquiry 
and investigation towards objects and situations 
in their daily lives. The surroundings and the 
organization were planned to stimulate and 
promote growth, to afford opportunities for 
effort, and enable children to acquire habits, 
skills, knowledge and attitudes of mind which 
would help them to live free, happy and useful 
lives. There was ample scope for natural activity 
and the desire to know, and also to do things 
well physically; but above all, there was the 
freedom which allowed for personal experience 
and investigation. 

The integration of the curriculum which this 
entailed occurs most easily and naturally under 
conditions free from constraint; and the break¬ 
away from traditional and conventional education 
in a Junior School allowed opportunities to ac¬ 
quire knowledge in history, geography, science, 
various arts and crafts, as well as written and 
spoken language and mathematics. I he informa¬ 
tion gained in this way may not perhaps easily be 
measured by examination results in the early 
stages, but it did undoubtedly give children a 
wide background to knowledge which stood them 
in good stead at eleven years of age and later. 
It helped them to read fluently and with under¬ 
standing, for they had to have recourse to books 
to gain necessary information; they wrote 
because in various ways they recorded things seen 
and discovered; they measured and they cal¬ 
culated. Finally, they practised with diligence 
and enthusiasm skills of all kinds for reasons 
which they themselves fully understood, including 
the desire to pass to a Secondary School. 

Whatever the merits or failures of this method 
of approach, the results of the examination at 
eleven plus years of age were considerably higher 
than the average for the number of children 
transferred to Grammar Schools and, under the 
earlier methods of transfer, to selective Central 
Schools. 

It is unfortunate that no long-term records 
appear to have been made of the progress and 
successes of children, as well as their failures, in 
schools where the traditional class methods of 
instruction have been replaced by others more 
objective in approach. It is, however, a fact that 
because the children worked at their own pace 
and pursued individual lines, the abler among 
them worked to their full capacity and were not 


restricted to the average pace of the group in a 
formal class. 

Generally, given the right endowment, en¬ 
couragement and opportunity, the abler children 
in particular are anxious to learn and, contrary 
to the belief of some theorists, they are prepared 
to tackle jobs requiring considerable mental 
effort and perseverance. Such children, ac¬ 
customed to work through their own volition, 
are often better prepared for formal study in 
Grammar Schools at an appropriate age than are 
those whose course has followed a more con¬ 
ventional routine. 

The lack of a formal curriculum and time-table 
does not mean that the teacher is withdrawn from 
the class, for the success of this kind of procedure, 
as of any other, depends very largely upon the 
teacher. It is her responsibility to build up an 
environment which will in the first place arouse 
a desire to learn and then stimulate children to 
make further efforts. She must be able to widen 
the sphere of their interests at the right moment; 
to set standards of achievement and be able to 
evaluate the results of all work and experience. 
She must help towards training in organization 
and social living and at the same time be able to 
enter into children’s interests at their own level. 

This presupposes a teacher who is herself a 
sympathetic person of wide interests and in¬ 
tellectual attainments, but above all she must 
possess her own philosophy of life and her own 
interpretation of the principles upon which this 
particular way of life and work in schools is 
based. Without such understanding the teaching 
becomes confused and the energies of the children 
dissipated. 

EDITORIAL POSTSCRIPT 

This number of The New Era has been prepared 
by the Education Committee of the English 
Section of the New Education Fellowship. It is 
hoped to continue the discussion in the July- 
August number with an article by Dr. M. 
Swainson on ‘Psychological “Climates” and the 
New Education’ and authoritative articles on the 
educational value of a variety of teaching methods 
in the basic skills and some indication of the kind 
of child who tends to find help from each. 

This will be followed later by numbers on 
educational standards in the secondary schools 
and by a series of articles on such topics as 
aesthetic and moral standards and on education 
for clear thinking and right judgment. 





THE NEW ERA 

IN HOME AND SCHOOL 

THE GOOD INFANT SCHOOL-II 


E. R. 

Jk t the end of my last article , 1 I suggested that 
A\ one of the ways in which a good infant 
-*■ school can be recognized is by the effective¬ 
ness of the education it provides. This does not, 
in my opinion, mean by the skilfulness that the 
children achieve in the three R’s. The staff works 
towards no less a goal than the fullest possible 
development of each child. In the course of 
growing up and adapting to the reality of school 
life, it is expected that children will achieve the 
skills of which they are capable. Learning to 
read, for instance, comes about naturally as the 
result of becoming more mature and of certain 
experiences. What does this mean in practice ? 

We know that development (or growing up) is 
the result of the interplay between unseen forces 
and mechanisms within the personality and ex¬ 
periences outside it. Every child in a class has 
his own quota of intelligence which experience 
can draw out or deaden, but which we are now 
fairly certain that no education can augment. He 
has his own temperament which can be modified, 
but not radically altered, by experience. He has 
also his individuality which includes his own 
pattern of growth—slow in one direction, quicker 
in another, w r avering sometimes, and so on. This 
individuality also includes his fund of instinctual 
power, often called ‘drive’ or ‘aggression’. This 
is the power that makes him a leader and a 
creator, an inventor and discoverer, and provides 
him with the will to learn and to conform to the 
demands of the world of grown-ups. 

Each child, through countless varieties of ex¬ 
perience, meets the impact of the world outside 
himself. The interplay between these impacts and 
himself results in his growing up with or without 
mental and physical health, with or without 
emotional easiness, balance and confidence. 

Learning by School Experience 

The staff of a good school realize their responsi¬ 
bility in offering each child the kind of experience 
that will best help his growth. They know that 

1 See The New Era, March 1953, Miss Boyce’s third article, “Playing 
their Way to the three R’s” will appear in September-October. 


Boyce 

the infant school period is important because of 
the profound inner changes that take place after 
the fifth year. Whilst they are aware that inner 
growth will take its own time and pattern and 
that they are powerless to shape individual per¬ 
sonality, yet they recognize their responsibility 
to support and ease the course of the children’s 
surge forward towards maturity by providing 
rich, deeply satisfying, educative experience. 

The wisdom of the precept ‘learn by experience’ 
has become almost meaningless to many teachers 
because it has been overworked. Let us attempt 
some clarification. All schools offer children ex¬ 
perience of many kinds, with all sorts of results. 
The most important results are the attitudes to 
life which may persist into adulthood. In some 
schools, children gain a lasting impression, created 
by school experience, that learning means sitting 
still and doing what you are told. Later, this 
becomes an inability or disinclination to find out 
or to think for themselves. Still later, we recog¬ 
nize the attitude in adults who have no opinions 
of their own, readily accepting any that are 
offered persistently and dramatically enough 
through newspapers, propaganda and films. The 
experience of being rewarded for several years by 
stars on the wall-chart for effort and success 
cannot fail to leave some children with the un¬ 
corrected attitude that one works for tangible 
reward and that one does not work without it. 
Another type of experience convinces them that 
the less they say, the more grown-ups like them. 
And so on. We might generalize by saying that 
this kind of experience is inhibiting and conducive 
to a negative attitude towards life. 

The good infant school provides educative ex¬ 
perience which results in the opposite kind of 
attitude. Because our aim is full development 
and the satisfaction of basic needs, we challenge 
the inborn curiosity of children so that their 
interest flows outward, away from themselvcs 
and personal reward, to the world without. \\ e 
deliberately encourage achievement and self- 
approval by encouraging them to experiment and 
find out for themselves and to ask questions. \\ e 


103 










THE NEW ERA 


104 

organize the school so that they can try out their 
powers, can organize themselves in a children's 
world which they can handle. We expect them to 
fail often and to try again—and to achieve even of- 
tener. We also know that they will meet the need 
to know how to read, write and calculate as they 
explore, through school life, the mysteries and in¬ 
tricacies of the grown-up world. 

The staff of a good infant school is aware that 
the effectiveness of the experience offered to 
children can be tested only by the behaviour of 
of the children themselves. They enable them¬ 
selves to assess this behaviour by reminding them¬ 
selves of the following facts: 

Children begin life with an insatiable curiosity. 
The work has been good if they are still seekers 
after information, enthusiastic learners, per¬ 
sistent questioners at the age of 7 plus. 

They begin life with powers of intense ob¬ 
servation. The education we provide is effective 
if they are still alert and watchful; still ready 
to stand and stare, but also to come to con¬ 
clusions, to reason and generalize. 

They were fascinated by words at four and 
five. Are they still curious about new names 
and expressions, finding satisfaction in using 
more precise language and asking meanings by 
the time they leave us ? Has this inborn in¬ 
terest been stimulated and refined so that they 
enjoy poetry and play-making ? 

As babies, they responded to sound, rhythm 
and tone. Has this interest been fostered by 
the sort of experience that leads to eager 
response to song and music ? 

They were always attracted by animals. Has 
school life aroused sympathy with and some 
understanding of their lives so that ignorant 
cruelty is unthinkable ? 

They were always inventors, creators and 
experimenters. Are they still ? 

They understood something about shape, 
pattern, measurement and order when they 
came to school. Do they understand more fully 
at the age of seven ? Good Junior school 
teachers also ask themselves these questions. 
And what attitudes to life have they acquired ? 
We may summarize a few. For instance, If you 
don’t know, you can find out.' ‘It is more fun to 
be friends with people and help them.’ ‘A job 
done gives you immense pleasure.’ 

These are roughly the sort of results by which 
we can assess the effectiveness of the education. 


June 1953 

How is Effective Education Achieved ? 

Let us refer back to the vitality of the good 
infant school. Liveliness in school depends on 
the presence of a great variety of material so that 
children can invent and exploit many situations. 
We must furnish our school for the use of children. 
So we will keep in mind equipment. Next, let us 
remind ourselves of that special quality which is 
the result of satisfying the children’s needs— 
freedom to talk, to make friends, to use their 
physical powers naturally, and so on. There 
must be tilings to talk about and to share and to 
do together. Again, the emphasis is on equipment 
in space. Needs cannot be satisfied from a position 
in a desk in a classroom. Lastly, effectiveness of 
the education, implying the developing of each 
personality, means nourishment of native inter¬ 
ests, the acquisition of fresh interests and the 
growth of wholesome, outward-going attitudes to 
life. This involves things and space but also 
opportunities for teachers to use their craft, to 
give of the depth of their knowledge and wisdom, 
to allow their own gifts and personalities to be 
explored and used by the children as nourishment 
and as support in the struggle for self-realization 
and adjustment. The good infant school works 
within the same scaffolding as any other that is 
through organization, curriculum, and teacher- 
attitudes. But each of these is based on the 
needs of growing children. 

Organization and Head Teachers’ Role 

The organization of a good infant school can 
be none other than that of a democratic com¬ 
munity of people, living together, sharing equal 
rights, enjoying equal consideration, living in 
mutual respect, but understanding and keeping 
the laws. The children as well as the teachers 
have the freedom of the building, and they have 
no doubts that it is their place, arranged for them, 
and that they are always welcome there. 

But in this community there must be leader¬ 
ship and guidance. The leadership of the whole 
school is vested in the Head Teacher, and she is 
the co-ordinating influence, the particular friend 
of everyone, which means children and each 
member of the staff, the caretaker, the kitchen 
staff, and the parents. The children look on her 
rather as the universal provider and general 
manager, at the service of all. There may be six 
home-rooms but the Head Teacher makes a home 
of the whole school building. ‘My class’ and 'my 


June 1953 


THE GOOD INFANT SCHOOL — II 


105 


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LONDON SHOWROOM 2 2 BLOOMSBURY STREET , W. C. I 


teacher’ are highly important to infant school 
children but there is still ‘our school’, created by 
the Headmistress. 

She is also the one who is responsible for safe¬ 
guarding each individuality. It is her job to 
select the best social setting for them all. As a 
rule, it is true that stability and continuity in 
teacher-child relations is highly desirable. A 
child needs to retain one teacher for at least a 
year, and if possible for two years; that is to 
say, through his whole period in the infant school. 
Similarly, each group needs to maintain its iden¬ 
tity throughout the 5 to 7 -f period. There are 
bound to be changes owing to removals, but the 
practice of shifting children in and out of classes 
every few months is destructive at this age. But 
there can be no hard and fast rules; individual 
children must be considered and no organization 
must be rigid. Some children and teachers are 
incompatible. For the good of both, changes 
must be made. Some children suffer from devel¬ 
opmental troubles, slow growth in certain di¬ 
rections, ill health. These and a few others too 
perhaps are not at ease in a class. The best plan 
is to keep such children with the group in which 


each can work and play to the best advantage, 
where each feels he is with friends. Achievement 
in the three R’s is not the good school’s way of 
assessing school organization. The question is 
not ‘Has he the requirements to fit the class ?’ 
but ‘Is this the best class for him ?’ 

The Head Teacher is also the steadying and 
developing influence. A good school changes and 
develops with the increasing experience of the 
staff and parents. But the Head uses a demo¬ 
cratic plan for introducing change. There must 
be staff conferences for discussion and in order 
to clarify aims and each one must have the 
opportunity to make her unique contribution. 
There is no need to limit creative teachers. It is 
not wise to force teachers to work against their 
own life-pattern. All members of a staff need to 
know the common aims of the school life, but 
they can understand them only in terms of them¬ 
selves and they can translate them into practice 
only as far as they understand. Moreover, 
they all want security if they are to do their best 
for the children. The good Head Teacher gives 
support where it is needed in the form which is 
best understood, e.g. through suggestion, through 












THE NEW ERA 


June 1953 


106 

a more closely woven programme, even through 
a simple outline of work to be done. Relaxation 
is the best medicine for all teacher-anxiety and 
this is always found in a good infant school. 

The Class-Teacher’s Role 

In the classroom, the teachers guide their 
children as the Head guides her staff. Acceptance 
and understanding are the two most important 
watchwords, and both are a direct outcome of 
democratic organization. The children are ac¬ 
cepted as they are, and because she understands 
them, their teacher is able to guide them towards 
what they are capable of becoming. She is also 
the co-ordinator of common interests, she fosters 
their interest in each other. While she is safe¬ 
guarding the precious individuality of each, she 
is encouraging them in the feeling of ‘together¬ 
ness’, of becoming members one of another. She 
shares goals and enters into their interests; 
guiding, widening, clarifying as she does so. 
But she has everything well under control and 
she lets the children feel her safeguarding strength. 
She leaves no doubt about what is allowed and 
what is not allowed. In fact, she is the strongest 
and wisest member of the home classroom but 
she is still only the leader. 

Note .—The discussion which followed this lec¬ 
ture was most interesting. One teacher asked 
‘Should there be no restraint ?’ All members 
agreed that the answer is ‘Yes, decidedly’. We 
discussed the restraint imposed by simple laws 
made for the easy running of the class and for 
the children’s own convenience; the restraints 
imposed naturally by the limitations of space 
and sharing of tools and materials; the restraint 
imposed by the wishes of members of small 
groups working together with the agreement of 
other members who wished to be accepted as 
good companions; the restraint of leadership (al¬ 
ready mentioned); restraint by example. This 
means through identification with the beloved 
teacher. Children want to be like her and imitate 
her courtesy, consideration and control by volun¬ 
tarily controlling their own behaviour. Children 
slip easily and naturally into the habit of accept¬ 
able behaviour in a classroom where consideration 
is expected. But, of course, there are bound to 
be problems, outbursts, aggression, because the 
children are still learning how to live and how to 
manage themselves. Maturation is doing its 
manage themselves. 



r " h: c '»em a 


the E*°'° 


These are the forces that nowadays mould 
young people’s minds and determine how they 
think, speak and, therefore, write. 

By helping children to understand and assess 
what they see, read and hear, we help them to 
lead more intelligent lives and become more 
thoughtful users of English. This indis¬ 
pensable work is undertaken by 

“ENGLISH FOIL CITIZENS” 

which covers the kinds of English that are of 
greatest practical value in work, social life 
and leisure. The argument, which develops 
throughout the book, is brought home by 
down-to-earth examination of such topics as: 
Why and How Newspapers Differ—Test¬ 
ing the Truth of Slogans—How Advertise¬ 
ments make their “ Appeals ”—etc. 

Copious exercises are closely keyed to the 
exposition, making the book a complete and 
coherent teaching instrument which goes far 
towards meeting the special Problem of the 
Fourth Year. 

This volume completes the outstanding series 

OUR OWN 
LANGUAGE 

A Course for Pupils 11—15 Years 

S. C. EVERNDEN 

Books I—IV, each 5 6 


Write now for your inspection copies to — 

E. J. ARNOLD & SON LTD • Leeds 10 

Also LONDON • EDINBURGH • BELFAST 


ENTRY TO SCHOOL'- 

A CHILD THERAPIST CONTINUES 

Erna Popper, B.A., Instructor of Child Therapy, Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 


W hen teaching a group of five-year-old 
children during their first few days at 
school, I sometimes had the feeling of 
participating in a psychological experiment in 
which a large number of subjects is placed in an 
objectively identical situation. Their individual 
responses to it can be evaluated by comparison 
with an accepted norm. Like most teachers, I 
soon learned to make some predictions about my 
new charges’ likely adjustment by observing their 
varied initial behaviour and, consciously or un¬ 
consciously, adapted my handling accordingly. 
Two particular kinds of reaction presented me 
with so great a problem of management that I 
could not help focussing my attention on them. 
One of these is the clinging child who often 
screams or kicks when his mother attempts to 
go away from him; the other is the passive child 
who does not protest openly, but whose stiff 
expression and manner at once convey T won’t 
have anything to do with school.’ As I became 
better acquainted with the group as a whole, I 
found that quite a few other youngsters showed 
similar difficulties to a lesser degree. Their 
initial manifestations usually disappeared quite 
quickly but they nevertheless took some time to 
settle down and sometimes their difficulties flared 
up again at a later stage. 

These two kinds of children are frequently 
referred to a child guidance clinic. In treating 
such cases I have been able to understand better 
the various factors underlying these disturbances. 
I am now trying in retrospect to assess how much 
of my new insight I could have applied in helping 
such children as a teacher. The following short 
excerpts from the treatment records of two 
typical examples may be of value in considering 
this question from an educational point of view. 
Both these patients had subsidiary symptoms 
which I shall exclude where they do not directly 
relate to their difficulties at school. 

Derek B. was a tall and handsome five-year-old 
boy of superior intelligence. He had attended 
school only four weeks when his mother sought 

1 We have published two previous articles under this title, one by 
Mr. A. Leslie Hutchinson, County Education Officer for the Isle of 
Wight, September-October, 1951, and one from a teacher’s point of 
view by Miss M. R. Killon in January, 1952.—Ed. 


psychiatric advice for him because of the follow¬ 
ing problem: from the first day of school, Derek 
had adopted a completely negative attitude. He 
would not talk to the teacher or to the children; 
he refused to do anything that might be ex¬ 
pected of him, such as participating in games, 
dressing and undressing. Neither coaxing nor 
firmness would induce him to abandon his chair 
on which he sat rigidly. It was only under great 
pressure that he followed the other children into 
the playground where he again stood silently in 
a corner. He so much lacked spontaneity that 
his arms appeared quite stiff when the teacher 
helped him put on his coat. Nothing of what 
happened seemed to be taken in by him. This 
behaviour was in sharp contrast to his attitude 
at home: there he had always been a lively child, 
intensely interested in everything. He main¬ 
tained a warm and happy relationship with both 
his parents. He had a younger brother with 
whom he did not get on too well but there was 
no evidence of serious sibling rivalry. 

Derek never mentioned directly what he had 
done at school but he treated his parents to 
recitals of songs and dances which he had learned 
there by merely watching. He had never ex¬ 
pressed any dislike of school and it came as a 
great shock to the parents when they received the 
teacher’s first note about Derek’s school problem. 
In their despair and panic the parents scolded 
him severely for his bad behaviour and punished 
him. The difficulty, however, persisted. Mrs. B. 
nearly cried when she related the story at the 
clinic, feeling that she had completely failed in 
the upbringing of her child. In spite of Derek’s 
obvious reactions, his mother had great difficulty 
in facing the fact that her boy disliked school. 
This was particularly hard for her because she 
herself had had a real problem during her schooling 
and had remained shy and diffident in all her 
social contacts. She had always dreaded that 
she might transmit these symptoms to her chil¬ 
dren and hence regarded the boy’s adjustment at 
school as a test of her capacity as a good mother. 
It almost seemed as though the boy wished to 
spare his mother this disappointment and there¬ 
fore he had never been able to discuss his feelings 


107 




108 

with her. Already during the summer preceding 
his first term he had considerately withheld his 
doubts when his mother had read to him a book 
in which school was portrayed as a place of happy 
activities. 

I could convince Derek’s mother that we should 
be in a better position to understand his troubles 
if we enabled him to talk about them, lo en¬ 
courage this, Mrs. B. told Derek a story about a 
little boy who did not like school at all but was 
afraid to tell his mummy lest she got cross with 
diim. One day, he began to tell his mummy about 
all the things that worried him at school and she 
helped him to feel much better about them. Derek 
made no response to this, but the next day he 
watched a dancing lesson for young children on 
TV and pointed out a little boy who refused to 
join in, saying: ‘This is a bad boy; he won’t do as 
he is told. What will his mummy do ?’ Mrs. B. 
reassured Derek that the boy was not really bad; 
he just did not like the lesson and his mummy 
loved him all the same. "I hus Derek began to 
talk at home about all his complaints about the 
teacher and the children. It also turned out that 
he was angry with his mummy for expecting so 
much of him when his little brother was allowed 
to do just as he pleased. 

On looking back over Derek’s pre-school 
behaviour, the mother now realized that he had 
shown a tendency to react passively when facing 
some difficult situations. She had overlooked 
this because to a slight degree it fitted in well 
with the family attitude and it was only when 
Derek had to go to school that this trend became 
so exaggerated. Mrs. B. gained insight into the 
interaction of her own difficulties and those of 
the child. She was not only able to change her 
handling but to discuss openly the reasons for 
Derek’s behaviour with him. He soon went 
through a phase during which he gloried in telling 
friends and strangers how much he hated school. 
At the same time, however, he began to be much 
more active in his form and for the first time he 
brought home pictures he had made. I his gave 
the mother a chance to praise him and to show 
him the positive side of being a big schoolboy. 
After a month Derek insisted on walking to school 
alone and his new boisterous independence spread 
from school to home. He played more readily 
with the children in the neighbourhood and 
helped his mother with errands. At that time 
he told people ‘I might like school after ( hrist- 


Junc 1953 

mas but I don’t have to like it yet.’ By the end 
of that term Derek’s difficulties had subsided. 
Although he occasionally grumbles at home about 
minor incidents in his school life, he has now 
been a happy schoolboy for a whole year. 

Two features are oustanding in this case: (a) 
the mother’s attitude to her child’s entry to 
school, and (b) the boy’s ready response to treat¬ 
ment by the mother. 

Certainly Mrs. B.'s personal experiences, her 
lack of self-confidence and her attitude to au¬ 
thority strongly affected her anxiety about 
Derek's response to school, bor this reason she 
had been unable to prepare the child for the 
fact that he might not like everything at school 
and had made it impossible for him to tell her 
about it when the difficulty arose. Yet I feel 
that this mother is unusual only in the degree 
to which she displayed her attitudes, since most 
mothers worry to some extent about what the 
teacher will think of them should their child not 
quite come up to expectations. It is also quite 
common that mothers, who regard complaints as 
indications of maladjustment, unknowingly create 
an atmosphere which prevents their child from 
criticizing the school. It would be very reassuring 
to all mothers to be told by the teacher in a 
preliminary interview or during the first days of 
attendance that we expect the children to come to 
school regularly but do not expect them to like 
everything — just as we adults do not expect to 
like all aspects of a new job. In fact it is very 
difficult to entertain only nice feelings about 
school even in the long run, but one can make 
compromises much more easily if one has a chance 
to grumble about unpleasant experiences. Also, 
the negative impressions of school often out¬ 
weigh tlie positive ones at the outset, in spite of 
the fact that both parents and teachers do their 
best to mitigate the difficulties. We might go 
further and convey to our pupils, both by our 
attitude and by our words, that we realize it will 
take some time before they can really like us or 
the'sehool, that there must be many new things 
which puzzle them or make them feel unhappy, 
and that we should like them to tell us about 
such worries so that we can help them. Some¬ 
times one can then clear up difficulties with a 
child and gain his co-operation by explaining the 
circumstances. Sometimes he still will not agree 
with us and we must be content to say: ‘I am very 
sorry you feel so badly. You need not like doing 


THE NEW ERA 


June 1953 


ENTRY TO SCHOOL — A CHILD THERAPIST CONTINUES 


109 


HEINEM ANN 


Selected Poems of 

Gerard Manley 
Hopkins 

Edited by JAMES REEVES 

This is the first selection of Hopkins’ poetry to 
appear at a popular price. 

It contains all Hopkins’ mature, finished work, 
together with some of his early and unfinished 
poems. James Reeves has written a long introduc¬ 
tion, which is a contribution to the understanding 
of the poet, and provided brief, helpful notes. 

The book is most handsomely produced, with a 
frontispiece, at a reasonable price. This is the ideal 
edition of Hopkins both for the devotee and for the 
student reading him for the first time. 

In The Poetry Bookshelf series. 6s. net 


Other titles in 
The Poetry Bookshelf 

This series presents in attractive, cheap and 
convenient form selections from poets not other¬ 
wise readily available. The editor, James Reeves, 
has supplied an Introduction to each book and 
Notes where necessary. 

John Donne 

Every facet of Donne’s poetry is represented. The 
explanatory commentary is believed to be the 
fullest available. 4s. 6d. 

D. H. Lawrence 

The only edition now available of this remarkable 
writer’s verse. 4s. 

READY SHORTLY 

John Clare About6s. 


99 GREAT RUSSELL STREET, W.C.l 


this but I am afraid you still have to do it’—thus 
imposing a command and yet respecting the 
child’s feelings about it. 

Derek’s ready response to the mother’s changed 
attitude was due to the fact that his symptom of 
passive resistance was treated in its early stages, 
before it had had time to develop into an in¬ 
grained character trait. At this point he still 
responded much more actively in other un¬ 
pleasant situations. In many cases this symptom 
is neglected because it does not present an 
immediate problem of management or it is hoped 
that the child will outgrow his passivity. Actu¬ 
ally, in treating children of this kind one finds 
that this difficulty belongs to the ones least 
accessible by psychotherapy if it has persisted 
for a number of years. Because mothers are 
often unaware of the extent of the child s 
problem, it is very helpful when the teacher 
can recommend a child guidance clinic if a 
child does not respond readily to a change of 
handling. 

Jane S. was thirteen years old when she was 
referred to our clinic because of a persistent school 


phobia which had made it impossible for her to 
attend school during the past six months. More 
recently she had even refused to leave the house, 
went out only rarely and then in the company of 
her mother. The history of her disturbance was 
revealed in detail during the two years of treat¬ 
ment which incidentally brought about only an 
alleviation of her severe symptoms. Jane was 
the only child of middle-class parents. She was a 
pretty girl, of lower average intelligence, and well 
developed physically. She had always clung to 
her mother, who maintained an extremely close 
protective relationship with her. In her earliest 
years there was some evidence of Jane’s unwilling¬ 
ness to leave her mother but it was only when she 
entered school that the problem of separation 
came fully to the fore. On the very first day, 
and for weeks after that, Jane would fly into a 
severe temper tantrum the moment the mother 
attempted to leave her with the teacher. She 
struggled with her mother to the extent of tearing 
her clothes, but after the teacher took her over 
and prevented her from following the mother, 
she would calm down fairly soon. She would cry 
for a while but then participated well in the 













110 


THE NEW ERA 


June 1953 


activities. I r or a time Mrs. S. tried to trick Jane 
by first promising to stay with her, then sur¬ 
reptitiously leaving her after she had settled 
down to play. This intensified the child's anxiety 
and she began to resist leaving home in the 
mornings. The parents tried persuasion, scolding 
and spanking. After some time Jane seemed to 
accept the inevitable situation. Shortly before 
the beginning of the term an aunt had had a 
baby and Jane had repeatedly told her teacher 
that her mummy would also have a baby, which 
was not true. Within the next two years Mrs. S. 
had two miscarriages which meant two spells in 
hospital. This revived Jane’s difficulty. Only 
this time she complained a great deal about the 
teacher, giving this as a reason for her reluctance 
to leave for school. That problem was tempor¬ 
arily solved by transferring her to a different 
school. In the course of the next few years she 
changed schools twice more, but in spite of that her 
fear of school became worse. Rows occurred every 
morning and there were intermittent periods of 
two or three days when Jane could not attend 
at all. When at school she was often over¬ 
whelmed by anxiety which made it increasingly 
impossible for her to profit from the lessons. 
Frequently she had to be sent home, until finally 
she refused to attend altogether. By then the 
nature of the symptom had changed from a 
separation anxiety to a fully fledged school phobia 
and Jane quoted different teachers, children and 
lessons as the objects of her fears. 

It became clear that from the beginning Jane's 
main conflict lay in her disturbed relationship 
with her mother. Except in her outbursts of 
temper she had never been able to express any 
hostile feelings towards her mother, fearing that 
mother might abandon her if she knew of her 
child's anger — or get herself another baby to 
replace the naughty Jane. Unfortunately Jane 
came for treatment after her long-standing 
symptom had become endowed with many sub¬ 
sequent meanings and had spread into so many 
aspects of her everyday life that she had to with¬ 
draw from all activities in order to cope with the 
ever-increasing fears. Children with such a long 
standing and severe school phobia can be helped 
only by daily psychoanalytical treatment over a 
number of years. These facilities are rarely 
available, and the weekly or bi-weekly clinical 
treatment fails to bring about sufficient changes 
in the character of the patients to enable them to 


develop normally without the risk of a relapse or 
the emergence of new r symptoms. On the other 
hand, it has been our experience that a cure can 
be effected by short term treatment at a child 
guidance clinic if these children are referred soon 
after the onset of their difficulty, i.e. often at the 
time of entering school. 

The description of Jane's behaviour at the age 
of five years reminded me of a number of children 
with similar symptoms, though less intense. In 
contrast to Derek, who really disliked school, 
children of Jane's type usually enjoy school 
activities once they are separated from the 
mother. This accounts for the sense of irritation 
with which a teacher witnesses these scenes, for 
one feels justified in believing that the child is 
just very naughty and the mother inadequate in 
handling the situation. Such children can res¬ 
pond well to the objective attitude of the teacher 
because their conflict still lies only with the 
mother. There is no cause for the child to become 
angry with the teacher towards whom she feels 
quite neutral at the start. We could see, however, 
in Jane’s case, that in the course of years the 
conflict spread from the mother to the teachers 
and she had to protect herself against outbursts 
of hostility at school by withdrawing from it. 
Mothers who anticipate a separation problem are 
so anxious to avoid a scene which they feel would 
lay them open to criticism that they tend to 
leave their child more hastily than is expected of 
them. They can sometimes be reassured when 
the teacher explains to them that many children 
have difficulty in leaving their mothers at first 
and that they are quite welcome to stay on for a 
while. In mild cases of this kind it sometimes 
helps to show the child: ‘I know you must be 
very angry with mummy for leaving you at 
school, but she still loves you and thinks of you 
at home and she will certainly come to fetch 
you.’ Although a forced or tricked separation 
may temporarily relieve the practical problems 
—as it did with Jane — it is almost sure ultimately 
to enhance the child’s fear of being left alone. 
There are of course children who adjust them¬ 
selves w r ell after an initial phase of separation 
difficulty and never develop a school phobia. 
They are usually the lucky ones whose family 
life never presents them with unexpected events 
(removals, hospitalizations, birth of a sibling, 
death, illness, etc.) which, unprepared for, may 
so easily upset their precarious balance. 


IT’S NICE TO BE ILL 

L. Ruddock , Lecturer in Social Psychology, University oj Manchester 


W hen I had the mesullse my antie Bettye 
brought me a picture book. I was 7 year 
old when I had this Illness. I had a lot 
of presents. I had appls and Oranges. And allso 
my antie nelly pears and peeche’s. I had lotes of 
present’s. I went to Bury infermery. I felt happy 
and glad, and when I had the flue I was in the 
infermery. one week my dad came for me to 
2-0 clock. We had good teas thier I had all the 
mells good I had a lot of children to play with. 
And I did a lot off Drawing then and I had a 
painting box I liked writing this story very much.’ 

A group of 90 Lancashire school children were 
asked to write on the theme ‘When I was ill’. 
The above is the contribution of an 8-year-old 
girl. It seems that the times of her illnesses 
remain a golden memory in her mind. In this 
she was not exceptional. Despite their sharp 
memories of pain and discomfort, the cheerfulness 
of these children’s thought of illness is quite 
impressive. In fact, of their comments containing 
some kind of pleasant feeling or the reverse, the 
pleasant ones outnumbered the others by more 
than two to one. To discover the reason for this 
pleasure, let us examine what the children say. 
I quote the happy comments from the top sheets 
in the pile before me, as they come to hand: 

‘I got two comics and a little play way 
book ... I had plenty of everything I par¬ 
ticular wanted (to eat).’ 

‘Mrs. J. gave me some butterscotch.’ 

‘My antty brought me some fruit.’ 

‘Daddy plade a game . . . Mummy came and 
we played tiddly-winks and snakes and ladders.’ 

‘My grandma came with some decorations 
and a book.’ 

‘I had a big pink birthday cake.’ 

‘The doctor gave me a shilling.’ 

‘I had a wireless by my bed, and a fire as 
well.’ 

‘the Nurses wer nice. I had ice cream and 
soup and jelly.’ 

‘I had coffee, poached egg and cake.' 
‘Daddy bought me some comics, and mummy 
bought me some chocs and a jig-saw puzzle.’ 
Clearly, the children remember that people 
made a fuss of them. The fruit, comics, games, 
ice-cream and nice foods all mean that they were 
taken notice of, their wishes consulted, even 


pandered to. I his, of course, is a dramatic con¬ 
trast in the situation of a young child who is 
much more used to being required to behave 
himself, to make himself clean and quiet, learn 
things, and to understand that his desires are 
inappropriate, improper, too expensive, that he 
is on the whole rather a nuisance to his over¬ 
worked mother, and that his wishes, if not his 
needs, come after the adults’. These children 
were very used to comics and ice-creams. What 
really impressed them was that ‘mummy was very 
kind’, ‘my mother was good to me’, and ‘When 
my dad came home he came upstairs and said, 
“What would you like for dinner’’ I said 
“What is there’’ he said “there are some pies 
and chips’’ I said “I will have a pie and some 
chips’’.’ ‘When I had Yellow Jaundice the doctor 
sed I had to have stemed hhs and chocklot and 
boled egg and poached Egg and red medecin . . .’ 
—the discomfort of the illness was not worth a 
mention, apparently. 

Such consideration, such importance, must 
seem like a dream come true. We cannot suppose 
that the pleasure of eating steamed fish really 
outweighs the disagreeableness of jaundice. It is 
the fact that the fish so specially served for the 
child that makes the experience so unforgettable. 
This, it appears, is quite sufficient to outweigh the 
pain of common illness. This point will easily be 
recognized by those who have discovered for 
themselves the limitation of physical punishment 
as a discouragement to activities desired for 
emotional reasons. 

Children (and adults incidentally) are much 
more deeply concerned about comfortable feelings 
than a comfortable body. Anxiety is much more 
distressing to them than physical pain. I he 
reassurance of love, safety, care and consideration 
that they experience from their parents when 
they are ill may be for some children the most 
profoundly comforting episode in their lives. 1 he 
memory of it may be so strong that in times of 
stress and uncertainty, such as may happen when 
changing schools or when a baby brother is born, 
he will feel a deep need to experience again this 
reassurance of paternal care, and will allow him¬ 
self to become ill in order to do so. How this can 
happen is not clear in detail, but there is nothing 
more certain than the capacity of children (and 


111 



112 


THE NEW ERA 


June 1953 


many adults) to run a temperature or catch the 
current infection when they are feeling particu¬ 
larly in need of support. For some reason, most 
people find it much easier to understand that 
illness can also be used as a weapon, a means of 
exploitation. 'My mother said are you happy and 
I said yes because you bring me sweets and 
cocolates, and my mother said you little twister.' 

It is, I think, clear that there is danger in 
parents making too sudden a switch of attitude 
from discipline to over-indulgence when the child 
falls ill. Perhaps they tend to do so because they 
know at the back of their minds that in many 
ways they have not been able to show all the 
patience and understanding that their children 
need, and that the child has often suffered in the 
daily struggle of family life. In simple fact, it is 
almost impossible to meet a child’s full demands, 
and many parents feel needlessly guilty because 
they have failed to accomplish the impossible. It 
is feelings of this kind that are strongly arcused 
when the child is ill. It is as if the parent under¬ 
goes a conversion, and resolves to make up for 
past shortcomings, to give everything, to with¬ 
hold nothing. It is no wonder that the child is 
sometimes overwhelmed. 

The parents' helplessness is also a factor. They 
wish very much to do something to cure the 
illness, but they Gan do nothing but follow the 
doctor’s brief instructions and wait for the course 
of nature. This urge to do something for the sick 
child, the wish to relieve the painfulness of merely 


having to wait by taking action about the situa¬ 
tion, may find expression in buying presents and 
in waiting over-anxiously upon the child's whims. 

The parent's temptation to behave in this way 
is strengthened by the fact that sickness is a kind 
of defeat for all the child’s naughtiness, noisiness 
and wayward impulse. At hist the child is quiet, 
helpless and out of mischief. The clash of wills 
is ended. Sometimes indeed the child's illness 
may appear as a relief to an exhausted mother, 
and she may find a new source of energy on being 
freed from this struggle. She has her baby back 
again, who was once powerless in her arms. She 
may be so gratified inwardly by this, that 
(assuming there is no great anxiety over the 
illness) she finds it easy to be sweet and kind and 
cheerful to her darling, whose wilfulness and 
destructiveness she found so hard to bear the 
week before. How, therefore, can she resist 
rewarding him for being ill ? 

Sick children certainly need every care, in¬ 
creased love and attention, games to occupy 
them, sometimes tempting food to encourage 
eating, always reassurance and consideration. 
What they often get is a rather emotional fuss 
and a shower of unexpected presents, which gives 
an inappropriate stimulation. Hut if parents will 
consider how r their own feelings might lead them 
into this kind of impulsive switch-over here illus¬ 
trated, they may find it possible to anticipate 
and to maintain a level and consistent handling 
of the situation. 


PARENT-TEACHER RELATIONSHIP 

Dr. Harold Wyndham, Director-General of Education in New South Wales 


M y contribution to this discussion will be 
confined to some observations on parent- 
■ teacher relations, especially as they appear 
from the point of view of school administration. 
We hear much talk to-day about parent-teacher 
relations. It seems to be taken for granted by 
some that effective teacher relations come into 
being spontaneously and inevitably. At the outset, 
I should like to remind you that this is not the 
case; effective teacher relations must be built up 
deliberately and with understanding by both 
parties. Such relations are not easily achieved 
and, indeed, it must be confessed, that in some 
centres the desirability of establishing such rela¬ 
tions does not seem to have been adequately 
recognized. Lest we become too impatient with 


such a situation, let us remind ourselves, further¬ 
more, that the desirability of parents and teachers 
co-operating in a common task as co-partners, is 
a relatively modern idea. 

If you cast your mind back over your own 
experience, you will recall the many parents who 
make no effort to discuss their children with 
school authorities and you may also have knowm 
teachers who have seemed rather too busy to take 
part in such discussions. You will have en¬ 
countered the parent whose attitude is that he 
has handed over his child to the school, thereby 
having discharged the w’hole of his educational 
responsibility. There are teachers, too, who, 
because they are expert in their field, do not seem 
to think that parents have any contribution to 


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113 






















































































114 


THE NEW ERA 


June 1953 


make to their understanding of their pupils. Both 
make the mistake of thinking that the appropriate 
educational authority can compass the whole task 
of understanding children. So I suggest that 
before we talk too glibly about 'parent-teacher 
co-operation’ we should remind ourselves that the 
necessary attitude of mind in both parties is not 
easy to achieve. Such an attitude does not just 
happen; there are difficulties and obstacles — 
many of them quite legitimate — on both sides. 

Let me therefore make four sets of suggestions. 
In the first place, since the welfare and progress 
of the child concerned must always be the prime 
target, it seems obvious that both parent and 
teacher should know as much as possible about 
the child. It is obvious, for example, that teachers 
who see Johnny at school, see Johnny as part of 
the school pattern, and Johnny at school, as some 
of us know to our cost, is a different person from 
Johnny at home. It is quite possible for the boy 
who is regarded as a nuisance at school to be an 
apparently guileless, docile, individual at home. 
Some exchange of information between parent 
and teacher is manifestly necessary. 

In my experience, this exchange takes place 
most commonly and most naturally at the infants’ 
school level. There is an intimacy which develops 
between parents and teachers of children under 
eight, thanks to the work of Mothers’ Clubs and 
the existence of other bridges between home and 
school, which makes understanding between 
parent and teacher in the infants’ school more 
general and more reliable than later on. 

There is a tendency for this more intimate 
relationship to break down as the child moves 
from the infants’ to the primary school. There 
are many reasons for this. For example, John’s 
mother no longer visits the school in order to take 
him home; he is a big boy now. In any case, it is 
likely that John has a younger brother or sister 
who lays great claim on the daily attention of his 
mother. In any case, primary school appears to 
be a more serious business than life in the infants’ 
school; many teachers and many parents tend to 
feel that the problems which now' arise are prob¬ 
lems best dealt with by teachers. The growing 
and proper emphasis upon attainments leads both 
parents and teachers, at times, to overlook the 
fact that problems of adjustment still remain, and 
are of paramount importance. 

The result is, in some schools, that the only 
visits from parents which teachers receive are 


those from irate parents or from parents who 
are unduly solicitous over the welfare of their 
children. 

It seems clear that ways and means should be 
developed which would enable parent and teacher 
to meet before the parent becomes irate and early 
enough to prevent parents from becoming too ill- 
informed about the abilities and problems of 
their offspring. It is probable that there will 
always be parents who will think that their geese 
are swans, but it is also probable that some 
teachers could be helped to detect the finer 
plumage if they were helped by information 
which parents could supply and by a better 
knowledge of the child’s home background. 

I am convinced that many parents, being con¬ 
scientious and intelligent, are seriously concerned 
over what happens to their children at school. 
But they have not developed the habit — perhaps 
they have not been helped to develop the habit — 
of discussing their anxieties and hopes with the 
teachers concerned. How many parents have you 
heard discussing their children, how they are 
getting on at school and the problems they are 
encountering, but discussing them at the tennis 
club, in the golf house, between hands at Canasta 
— anywhere except in the place where it will do 
the most good. That is, in the Headmaster’s or 
the Headmistress’s office. 

To take some questions which exercise the 
minds of parents sooner or later: 'How are children 
selected for high school ?’ ‘Why should a boy 
learn Latin ?’ ‘What is a junior technical course ? 
— Will that course enable him to go to the 
University?' ‘What is this I.Q. business, any¬ 
way ?’ 

In many schools excellent work has been done 
in providing parents with answers to these and 
many other questions. I have seen, for example, 
in certain primary schools, very sound relation¬ 
ship built up between parents and staff and 
between parents and the education system as 
a whole, by calling together the parents of sixth 
class pupils at least half-way through the year 
and allowing them to meet not only the Principal 
of the school but the District Inspector and the 
School Counsellor. From them they have learnt 
the whole story of selection for secondary school 
and of the range of courses which lie beyond sixth 
grade. The matter has been open for full question¬ 
ing and discussion well before the point of transfer 
and selection. 


June 1953 


PARENT-TEACHER RELATIONSHIP 


115 


They can be fluent! 



A BOOK OF 
HANDY WORDS 

by 

JAMES HEMMING 

This book sets out to develop a real 
master/ of a basic vocabulary of 1,400 
words. It uses illustrations in colour, 
games and apparatus to convey the funda¬ 
mental structure and phonetics of words 
and to teach the child how to spell. 

Designed for the average child of nine 
plus, it is equally suitable, both in content 
and illustration, for slower pupils in the 
lower forms of the Secondary Modern 
school. 

ILLUSTRATED THROUGHOUT IN THREE COLOURS 
MANILLA BINDING WITH CLOTH SPINE 

3s. 6d. 

To be published in June 


6 & 7 CLIFFORD STREET, LONDON, W.1 

-LONGMANS- 


This brings me to the second set of suggestions 
I should like to make. It is important that 
parents should be told and should be encouraged 
to find out, what the school is attempting to do 
for their children. I have already mentioned 
some of the questions which arise in connection 
with the transfer of children from primary to 
secondary school; other groups of questions 
obviously suggest themselves. Why is homework 
set in schools ? How much is expected of children 
in various grades ? What part can the home play 
in making such assignments for independent w r ork 
effective ? The new Curriculum for Primary 
Schools and the Alternative Secondary Curriculum 
which will appear in schools in 1953, provide 
golden opportunities for principals of schools to 
establish a bridge between home and school. 
Parents will co-operate more effectively if they 
know the objectives of teaching in the school. 
There will be much less puzzled discussion among 
parents themselves if they are helped to under¬ 
stand why the new curriculum has eliminated 
certain types of work and why the order of 
treatment has been varied. How often, for 


example, is the statement made that there is a 
serious falling off in standards in the three R’s 
in our schools ? Many parents have had no 
opportunity of knowing that in certain of these 
fundamental skills, attainments in schools are 
better than they were twenty years ago. Few 
people know of the emphasis which the modern 
curriculum places upon maturation—upon the 
determination of the optimum stage at which 
children should be asked to undertake certain 
tasks. If parents knew more about such con¬ 
siderations, there would be less family pride in 
the fact that one member of the family had 
succeeded in passing on to secondary work at an 
unduly early age. Teachers know that such an 
achievement is not so much a matter for pride as 
for anxiety. 

Here again I have attended an initiation session 
for parents of incoming secondary school bo\s. 
The Headmaster concerned conducted a very 
good session, speaking with commonsense and 
with wisdom. He invited discussion and questions 
from parents and he left them in little doubt as to 
the objectives he had in mind for his pupils. 1 he 

































116 


THE NEW ERA 


June 1953 


parents went away feeling that they had not only 
been taken into his confidence, but that they 
could play their part as parents more effectively 
because with greater insight. 

The third avenue of parent-teacher co-operation 
is in the field of child study. It is clear that what 
I am suggesting is the development of one phase 
of parent education. How many parents worry 
about the behaviour of their boy or girl simply 
because they do not know enough about behaviour 
of boys or girls at the age of their own child. They 
learn something by comparing notes with other 
parents; they could learn much more and perhaps 
more accurately, if they could be brought together 
with other parents and helped to understand 
something more of boys or girls in general. 

In one school I know the services of the School 
Counsellor are being used very skilfully in this 
regard. I know something of the outcome of a 
talk given by such a school counsellor to a group 
of parents upon problems of adolescence. I know 
of one mother, worried and exasperated over the 
moods and behaviour of her gangling teen-age 
son, telling her neighbour, after such a parent 
education meeting, that she was overjoyed to have 
discovered that her Tom was ‘normal’ ! 

Finally, let me suggest that it is through the 
development of parent-teacher relations that the 
school can best achieve the position which many 
writers have stressed in recent years, of becoming 
a real community centre. I have seen schools 
which have become a focus for the cultural 
activities of their community. Various groups 
meet in the school in the evening—a film group, 
a drama group, a choral group or perhaps a 
broadcast discussion group. Too often such groups 
are the outcome of the enthusiasm of one person 
or of a very few. They have their heyday and 
then tend to fade away. To develop as a com¬ 
munity centre, a school needs a more continuing 
interest. Obviously the most abiding interest 
upon which the school can call is the parents' 
interest in the welfare and progress of their 
children. Indeed, I am inclined to think that it 
is through the careful development of an asso¬ 
ciation between the parents and the school, out of 
school hours, that the most effective bridge 
between home and school can be built. If the 
parents of a community could be encouraged to 
form the habit of meeting at the school to discuss 
among themselves, under the guidance of the 
principal and others connected with the school, 


Braziers Park 

IPSDEN, OXON. Phone Checkendon 221 

WEEK-END COURSES 

Beyond Democracy 

Harold Walsby 

Experimental Painting and Modelling 

Jeannie Cannon 

Experimental Music 

Cassie Russell 

Make better use of your Camera 

Tom Carter 

SUMMER SCHOOLS 

Holiday Painting and Modelling 

(including Pottery) 

International Seminar 

(1st week "The Creative Spirit of Man 
2nd week “The British Culture”) 

Sensory Summer School 

(study-theme: “Values in Conflict 
dance and drama, painting, pottery, music) 

Write or ring Warden for particulars of charges, arrange¬ 
ments for children, detailed programmes and book-lists, etc. 


problems of common interest, much would be 
achieved. Individual visits of parents to the 
school in school hours would still be necessary 
and should not be discouraged, but the necessity 
for them would be less frequent. For one of the 
practical considerations which many enthusiasts 
overlook, is that if all parents, or even a con¬ 
siderable proportion of them, were to visit schools 
when they were worried about their children, the 
teachers would have little opportunity to teach ! 

Time does not allow me to develop this sug¬ 
gestion in detail, but I cannot but feel that such 
a programme of parent-teacher education would 
not only have the effect of providing a systematic 
background for dealing with problems of indi¬ 
vidual parents, but the even greater benefit of 
providing a positive rather than a negative 
approach to the whole problem of parent-teacher 
relations. 

Because of its interest to Parent-Teacher 
Associations in other countries, this article is 
reproduced, by kind permission, from New 
Horizons (the magazine of the New Education 
Fellowship in Australia), Summer Issue, 1953.] 


JUNE 19-22 
JUNE 26-29 

r 

JULY 3-6 J 

k 

JULY 17-27 

JULY 28- 
AUGUST 11 

AUGUST 19- 
SEPTEMBER 2 






Book Reviews 


Pathfinder Introductory Books 

A, B and C. John and Peggy 
Bradley. (Oliver and Boyd. Books 
A and B, 1/3 each. Book C, 1/6). 

The purpose of these three books is 
to stimulate an interest in reading 
and to give practice in the use of a 
limited and controlled vocabulary to 
those children who have failed in their 
first attempts to learn to read. The 
subject matter — the work of a sailor, 
a fireman and an airman — is well 
chosen for such boys, and the en¬ 
couragement given to write, draw and 
make should prove a helpful method of 
increasing interest as well as ensuring 
the mastery of a few words. The 
repetition of words and the revision 
through exercises in finding the right 
word or sentence for pictures is also 
useful. 

The books are clearly illustrated and 
on the whole the print is well arranged 
to encourage good left to right eye 
movements and the recognition of 
shapes, but the arrangement of some 
pages is distracting, with illustrations, 
all in red, going across, in between and 
beside the print. 

Teachers who use the Pathfiinder 
books will probably find these a useful 
introduction to them for some of their 
children. 

M. Metcalfe Smith 

The Robin. Hulton Press, 4d. 
every Monday. 

The first few issues of The Robin (the 
new magazine for small children pub¬ 
lished weekly by the Hulton Press) 
represent a successful attempt to put 
on the market a ‘comic’ which is 
suitable in content, attractive in 
appearance, amusing and educationally 
sound. The front page story, dealing 
with the adventures of the television 
favourite, ‘Andy Pandy’, is delight¬ 
fully presented in good colour with the 
characters well drawn and a total 
absence of the unnecessary and con¬ 
fusing detail which makes most ‘comics’ 
appear to the average child little more 
than a collection of postage stamps. 

The 'Reading Strip’ is a useful 
innovation in a magazine of this type 
and the first two strips promise well in 
content and method of presentation. 
It seems a sound and concrete way for 
parents to help their children to learn 
to read and, no doubt, many parents 
would welcome their collective pub¬ 
lication as a reading book. 

All the material which is specifically 
designed for children to read for them¬ 
selves is printed in clear, bold, well¬ 
spaced type and is comparable with 


many of the better reading books 
recently published. 

‘Ihings to Do’ and ‘Fun and 
Games’ are, of necessity, limited and I 
think it is a pity more space is not 
allotted to them. The type of picture 
puzzle found in the second number is a 
good exercise in observation and the 
kind of thing that children like, but I 
thought the picture was much too 
small and the foxes much too difficult 
to find. The pictures for the ‘Robin 
Scrapbook’ provide material for com¬ 
piling a picture dictionary, and the 
picture crossword a sound aid to 
spelling. 

The Robin is a useful addition to the 
reading apparatus in the Infant School. 
Children love ‘comics’ and here is one 
which is totally lacking in sordidness, 
violence and ‘slangy’ speech and, in 
addition to fulfilling its function as a 
laughter-maker, is cultural and artistic. 
As an aid to learning to read, its best 
use is in the home where mother or 
father can spend time on the individual 
child, going through the stories and 
helping with games and puzzles. 

If The Robin proves a successful ex¬ 
periment, as I am sure it will, I hope 
the publishers will be encouraged to 
produce a similar magazine for the 
seven-ten year old children for whom 
The Robin is too simple in content and 
its elder brother Eagle too difficult both 
in content and presentation. 

Nancy Allmark 


BROWNS’ NEW SERIES 
Y.A. READERS 

Series A. For Five-Year-Olds: 

Two Little Pigs Henny Penny 

Hop O’My Thumb Dick Whittington 

Series B. For Six-Year-Olds: 

Beauty and the Beast Puss in Boots 
The Sleeping Beauty 
Snow White and Rose Red 

Series C. For Seven-Year-Olds: 

Cinderella Jack and the Beanstalk 
The Prince and his Six Friends 
Robinson Crusoe 

PRICE 7^d. EACH BOOK 

Please write for illustrated pamphlet 

A. BROWN & SONS, LTD. 

32 Brooke St., Holborn, London, E.C.l 


Children’s Toys throughout 
the Ages. Leslie Daiken. (Bats- 
ford, 25s.) 

A toy, simply, is something to have 
fun with.’ What a charming and 
effective definition, which the author 
charmingly and effectively justifies, 
particularly since one feels that, in 
adding as part-title ‘throughout the 
ages’ he smilingly implied, with his 
tongue in his cheek, ‘for all ages’ ! 

Here are toys that move and toys 
that teach; here are musical toys of 
almost incredible complexity and toy 
theatres that were ‘things of true 
colour and romance’ and from which 
originated the catchphrase 'penny 
plain and twopence coloured’; and, 
of course, here are dolls and soldiers. 

Dolls and soldiers ! In my ignorance 
I had believed that dolls as toys had 
emerged from the womb of time. Now 
I know that they are not ‘age-old 
archetypal playthings passing down 
with only superficial changes from 
pre-Christian civilizations’, but that 
they began as ‘objects of magico- 
religious significance’. I had believed 
that . . . but fully documented state¬ 
ments in the book have corrected 
much of my erroneous thinking, while 
‘what psychologists say’ has given 
occasion for further wondering about 
soldier-play and war games. 

And yet, having perused the book 
and admired not only its scholarship 
but also the beauty and the felicity of 
the copious illustrations that form an 
integral part of it and that make it a 
typical Batsford product, I am left 
somewhat unsatisfied. Not that Mr. 
Daiken is at fault, for he has amply 
fulfilled his purpose. So many ques¬ 
tions have come crowding upon the 
problems he set out to solve. Where 
are the toys of yesteryear ? Where 
are they now, the old familiar play¬ 
things ? Why do London boys no longer 
spin tops ? And what of the marbles of 
our departed youth ? What are the 
social or economic implications of these 
variations in play habits ? In a spirit 
of nostalgic hopefulness I invite Mr. 
Daiken to write the necessary corollary 
for our informed delight. 

Children's Toys throughout the Ages 
will mean most to those who are still 
young at heart. In this category must 
be included all teachers. To them the 
author has a concluding word: '. . . 
teachers and pupils alike (the italics 
are mine) could derive more value and 
stimulus from one hour’s visit to doll¬ 
making shops, or the buildings where 
Triang steel toys are produced, than 
from many a classroom period on 
theoretical aspects of history and 
geography, science and geography . 

Alex. A. Bloom 


117 




THE NEW ERA J une 1953 

ASSOCIATION FOR CHILDHOOD EDUCATION 

INTERNATIONAL 


118 

THE SPEECH FELLOWSHIP 

The Speech Fellowship announces 
that its 1953 Residential Summer 
School in Speech Education, under the 
direction of Marjorie Gullan, will be 
held in London from mid-day Monday, 
August 17th, to mid-day Saturday, 
August 22nd. There will be separate 
courses for Primary and Secondary 
school work, and subjects are Voice 
and Speech, Choral Speaking, Move¬ 
ment, and Drama for Schools. Al¬ 
though the School is residential, non¬ 
residents will also be enrolled. 

As the Speech Fellowship is closing 
at the end of August, this is the last 
opportunity that teachers will have of 
attending a Fellowship Vacation 
School. 

Copies of the syllabus may be 
obtained from The Secretary, The 
Speech Fellowship, 1 1’ark Crescent, 
Portland Place, London, W.l. 


More than 1.500 people concerned 
with children attended the 1953 Study 
Conference of the Association for 
Childhood Education International in 
Denver, Colorado, April 5th to 10th. 
Forty-six states in U.S.A. were repre¬ 
sented and eight other countries. 

Strengths and Resources for Guiding 
Children was the general theme for the 
Conference. The forty-three study and 
laboratory groups were in four sections: 
Using what wc know about Human 
Development in Working with Chil¬ 
dren, Thoughtful Classroom Experi¬ 
mentation — A Way of Deepening 
Understanding of how Children Learn, 
Human Relations in the Education of 
the Child, and Laboratory Groups in 
Art, Music, and Science. At the last 


session of the Conference the work was 
summarized in a panel discussion. 

Addresses were made by Agnes 
Snyder, Adelphi College, New York; 
James Hymes, Jr., George Peabody 
College for Teachers, Nashville, Tenn.; 
Helen Heffeman, Dept, of Educa¬ 
tion. California; and Elizabeth Gray 
Vining. 

Kenneth E. Oberholtzcr, Super¬ 
intendent of Schools, Denver, and 
William Ross, President, College of 
Education, Greeley, discussed the edu¬ 
cational progress and cultural back¬ 
ground of Colorado. 

The 1954 Study Conference will be 
held the week of April 18th to 24th in 
St. Paul, Minnesota. 


Directory of Schools 


DARTINGTON HALL 

TOTNES DEVON 

Headmaster : W. B. CURRY, M.A., B.Sc. 

A coeducational boarding school for 
boys and girls from 7-18 in the centre of 
a 2,000 acre estate engaged in the 
scientific development of rural industries. 
The school gives to Arts and Crafts, 
Dance, Drama and Music the special 
attention customary * in progressive 
schools, and combines a modern outlook 
which is non-sectarian and inter¬ 
national with a free and informal 
atmosphere. It aims to establish the 
high intellectual and academic stan¬ 
dards of the best traditional schools. 

Fees: £210-£260 per annum. 

Scholarships are sometimes available, 
and further information about these 
may be obtained from the Headmaster. 

- 

KILQUHANITY HOUSE 

CASTLE DOUGLAS SCOTLAND 

FOR BOYS AND GIRLS 3-18 YEARS 

Established in 1940, Kilquhanity House 
frankly owes its inception to the work of 

A. S. Neill, who now considers it in the 
direct line of his own school and that of 
Horner Lane. It docs not, however, cater 
for problem children. In practice there 
is an attempt to combine the traditional 
thoroughness of Scottish education with 
self-government for the pupils. Activity 
methods are used throughout, and the 
teaching staff is qualified to the standards 
demanded by the Scottish Education 
Department, which inspects the school. 
There is ample opportunity for practice 
in ail the creative arts. A small mixed 
farm is a fundamental part — as distinct 
from an adjunct — of the school. The 
diet is on food reform lines, though chil¬ 
dren do not require to be vegetarian. 

fees : £1 50-£1 80 PER ANNUM 

Headmaster: J. M AITKENHEAD, M.A. (Hons.), Ed.B 

BADMINTON SCHOOL 

WESTBURY-ON-TRYM BRISTOL 

A Public School for Girls situated in large 
grounds three miles from the centre of Bristol. 
Boarders are taken from the age of 7. A 
high standard of scholarship is maintained, 
while at the same time interest in Music 
and the Arts is encouraged. Importance is 
attached to the study of current affairs and 
to the development of an international outlook. 


BEDALES SCHOOL 

PETERSFIELD HANTS ( Founded 1893) 

A Co-educational Boarding School for boys and 
girls from 11 Jp-18. Separate Junior School for 
those from 5-11. Inspected by the Ministry of 
Education. Country estate of 150 acres. Home 
Farm. Education is on modern lines and aims at 
securing the fullest Individual development in, 
and through, the community. 

Headmaster : H. B. JACKS, M.A. (Oxon.) 


























THE NEW ERA 

IN HOME AND SCHOOL 


A COMMENT ON STANDARDS : 

PARTICULARLY FOR PARENTS 

G. A. Lyward, Director, Finchden Manor, Tentcrden, Kent 


T hirty-one years ago I wrote in a testi¬ 
monial: ‘If you want a scholar this is not 
your man; if you want a first-class athlete 
this is not your man. But if your firm would 
welcome an intelligent young man whose inclusion 
would result in those around him being happier 
and more effective, then I strongly recommend 
him.’ I considered that the sixteen-year-old about 
whom I was writing was less ‘qualified' than 
others who I knew were applying for the job but 
that he would far more certainly meet the needs 
of the firm because he was clearly moving towards 
maturity. Mr. Hemming wrote in The New Era 
last May: ‘the needs of society and our know¬ 
ledge of the dynamics of personal growth together 
supply the new outlook on standards that we 
require to-day.' 

When I wrote that testimonial a colleague 
thought it was a strange one to come from the 
head of a department in a day-school of six 
hundred boys. But he added, ‘I agree with you, 
only I wouldn’t have written it, goodness knows 
why.’ I wonder whether his agreement with what 
I said, placed alongside his astonishment that I 
said it, will shed some light on the ‘problem’ of 
standards. I think it may. 

The chicken or the egg ? Which comes first ? 
I have not the slightest doubt—has anybody ?— 
that skills in the basic subjects and felicity of 
expression play their part in assuring people that 
they are of account. I do not see how anybody 
can safely minimize the present urgent needs of 
an industrial society. Nevertheless, I am com¬ 
pelled by my experiences, even at the risk of being 
misunderstood, to make my particular contribu¬ 
tion to a discussion of this ‘problem’ of standards. 
My emphasis in this brief article must go where 
I believe it should go, because I have had sharp 
reminders that there is a danger of ‘Primarily 
Personal Qualities’ and ‘Primarily Social Qualities’ 
being neglected again in favour of more imme¬ 


diately measurable and even perhaps more imme¬ 
diately useful ‘Academic’ results. (I am using the 
headings of Mr. Hemming, taken from page 83 of 
the May issue of The New Era). May I attempt 
to minimize misunderstanding by again quoting 
a personal experience ? 

When in 1928 I left my last teaching post, at a 
public school, the Chairman of the Governors told 
me that it was I who had been responsible for the 
standard of work’s rising by 40 per cent. My 
efforts, as I recall them, had been primarily 
directed towards creating the atmosphere within 
which I believed university scholarship candi¬ 
dates, a sixth form, a school rugby fifteen and a 
house of new boys (to name some of the units with 
which I was particularly concerned) would be 
enabled, and if necessary obliged, to live without 
serious evasion or bluff. Achievements, particu¬ 
larly cultural achievements, are not of secondary 
importance. But perhaps I may be allowed to 
call them derivative. It is because they derive 
from other experiences that they may have to be 
given an informal second place at certain times 
and for certain people. Of course it is often 
undesirable or impossible to discover whether 
a scholastic achievement is chiefly the result or 
the cause of emotional and social development. 
This points our dilemma, ‘The chicken or the 
egg ?’ 

I once had the pleasure of being asked by Dr. 
Susan Isaacs if she might quote a statement from 
an editorial I had written in Home and School. It 
was a simple enough statement, but it had taken 
her fancy. ‘Have you ever heard of anybody s 
saying about a baby, “Stop feeding that baby 
on milk or he will never want meat ! ? The 

inevitable reply is, ‘Don’t be silly !' Everybody 
just knows and takes for granted that by means 
of milk, enjoyed, baby is prepared for other food. 
There is a vital relation between the milk and 
—shall we say ?—meat. One thing leads to 






120 


THE NEW ERA fuly-Aug. 1053 


another. The immaturity of the baby's whole 
body makes it easy to say, without any fear of 
being contradicted, that there are certain chal¬ 
lenges which cannot be made with any hope of 
response. 

Now listen at various keyholes. 'Take this for 
telling lies !’ ; 'Don’t be a baby, of course you can 
do it’; 'He a brave little man’; ‘Little ladies don’t 
behave like that’. W ere they 1920 keyholes or 
1953 keyholes, and if you heard such remarks 
what did you feel about them ? Many people will 
probably still be prepared to say that they find 
nothing wrong with them, but others would say 
that they smack of the days before we had the 
knowledge we now have of how children develop. 
The harmlessness of such remarks, let alone their 
usefulness, depends upon many things. One of 
these is the age and previous experiences of the 
child to whom the remark is made. Again this 
will seem ‘obvious’ once it is said, but not all 
those who agree that it is obvious will act more 
creatively or humanely towards children after¬ 
wards. That is very interesting and very dis¬ 
turbing. 

Each of the above and similar remarks to 
children constitutes a challenge and suggests that 
failure should be met by punishment —ought to 
be met by punishment or continued insistence. 
That ‘ought’ is behind the ‘problem’ of standards. 
What I will call abstract indignation causes 
prejudice on one side of the fence and resentment 
on the other. Let us hope that such abstract 
indignation does not increase the panic about 
lowered standards. 

Life, we would all agree, is in one aspect a 
challenge and full of punishments. Is it true that 
because of this ‘the sooner he learns not to lie or 
tell stories’, ‘the sooner she starts behaving like a 
little lady’ — the better ? Most good parents at 
the beginning of this century would have been at 
least inclined to assent to that. Since then, how¬ 
ever, we have not been so sure of the usefulness 
of learning that may be unrelated and untimely. 
The fixed standard has too frequently been found 
to have stood between a child and his wellbeing- 
both as a child and subsequently. 

The word ‘weaning’ is well known. One thing 
led to another when the one was milk and the 
other was meat. Hut these other matters, surely 
they are quite different. Whereas the child could 
not be blamed for not holding a cup at the age of 
one month, we know that quite little children can 


be convicted of libbing and slapped for it and we 
know that quite little children can be threatened 
or persuaded into behaving well. So why not 
always ‘deal’ with the child’s ‘bad’ behaviour or 
shortcomings in his work without more ado ? 
What good can come of leaving us parents lost 
without standards ? 

It is not easy to reply briefly and I have much 
sympathy for the parent who is confused. Suppose 
it is suggested that the ‘whole baby’ is engaged 
when he drinks the milk and that it is not always 
the whole child that is engaged when he is acting 
bravely and being well-behaved, or learning 
French verbs ? Is that worth considering ? How 
much does it matter if a child is honest, well 
mannered, thoughtful, up to scratch, with only 
one part of himself ? What may be happening to 
the rest of him ? This, asked here in very un¬ 
scientific language, is the question that has been 
put to us all in recent years. It has disturbed 
those places where ‘standards’ were conveniently 
and over-confidently applied in respect of learning 
and behaviour. Many parents are terribly con¬ 
fused. 

It seems to me that the vital question is: How 
far is the child doing what he does with his 
whole self — his ‘heart and mind and soul’ ? Is 
his heart in his work and play, is he co-operating 
in freedom of spirit, is his homework spoiling the 
quality of his sleep, are his friendships free ? Or 
is there a serious gap between the part of him 
which is answering a challenge and the rest of 
him ? Is he implicitly asking us to get between 
him and that fear or seduction which is compelling 
or luring him to be unreal in his bravery or polite¬ 
ness or success as he makes a dangerously partial 
response ? How much of his energy is he using up 
to save his face ? 

In the olden days of not so long ago, we were 
not awake to the dangers of the partial response, 
partly perhaps because we knew it sometimes 
could not be avoided. We were concerned per¬ 
haps with what neighbours were thinking, with 
how much trouble the child was causing us, or 
with a lifeless picture of ‘what ought to be’. 
Some of these and similar concerns are quite 
important, but they are not as important as a 
person’s capacity for learning from life, tolerating 
the existence of others, staying the course, ‘dying 
daily'. 

Not for one moment am I proposing that we 
wait until it will cost the child nothing to be 


July-Aug. 1953 A comment on standards: 

brave or well-mannered or considerate or success¬ 
ful at, say, mathematics. But Mr. Hemming's 
reminder that about one out of every ten children 
is liable to be rejected by his classmates tells us 
that many children have precious little to spare. 
I know these in their dozens for I preside over a 
community for emotionally disturbed but intelli¬ 
gent (often highly intelligent) adolescents. My 
colleagues and 1 know that we must keep their 
emotional poverty in mind and wait for the 
moment to challenge. But we do interweave 
such waiting with other immediate challenges 
which are not so unlike certain of those conveyed 
to children by parents and teachers of fifty years 
ago. We can, for the most part, trust our mixture 
to be nourishing, that is to say, educative. How 
eager they are—in due course—to learn; and 
how quickly they learn—in due course—later 
on. 

Nowadays many people are concerned as to how 
far a child ‘does’ this or that with the whole of 
himself and how far what he does is only a bit of 
bluff or is a true indication of what he ‘is’ at the 
time when he does it. It is indeed a matter of 
timing, with an eye on the child rather than on 
the amount he has added to what he knew last 
year or on the new virtue which ‘should have 
been acquired by now’. Ought to be known. 
Ought to be acquired. Even talk about virtues 
which sounds qualitative can hide an acquisitive 
and quantitative approach. 

A child can give and take only after he has been 
nourished. Some children need to take more 
and for longer than others. Often it is the big- 
hearted who have, as it were, more to fill up. 
Taking, however, will look dishonest or selfish to 
those who have expected it to cease. Yet the 
wrong kind of interference and stricture by 
parents or teachers with the life of a child who is 
taking may deflect him into taking in other 
stranger ways for a still longer period. He may 
find himself labelled delinquent or backward and 
then it will take more time while he is re-stored 
by those who are willing and able to stand 
between him and whatever is compelling him to 
remain unfulfilled and partial in his response to 
challenge. 

Security is a keyword. The little child main¬ 
tains his security partly through play and imita¬ 
tion of grown-ups which are not unconnected with 
the good within the old ‘standards’. Later on, it 
is loving and wise and effective to throw out a 


PARTICULARLY FOR PARENTS \2\ 

hint or an order which will make the child aware 
of, sa\, the needs of old people or the helplessness 
of two people to do what it takes three to do. 
Nor is a reminder of what courage can achieve 
amiss, alvva\s provided that these orders, re¬ 
minders, hints do not amount to or mount up to 
challenge which shakes his security. If they do 
that then, whether it is in regard to social 
behaviour, self-expression or control of standard 
of work, they may result in the ‘gap’, the jerk 
where there should be a flow . . . the response 
from one part only. 1 his can perhaps be called 
conduct rather than response, perhaps reaction 
rather than action. It is valuable, or at least 
harmless, only where it is followed at not too 
great an interval of time by a true, living, felt 
appreciation of what has happened. But this 
latter, we must remember, may at times take the 
form of mild rebellion, laziness or moodiness, 
inability to concentrate. 

I he child is not simple. His eagerness is both 
his strength and his weakness. Loving children 
is both too easy and too hard for most of us. 
therefore we do need some way of knowing them, 
even if we cannot through the application of 
standards know r always just where we are with 
them and what point they themselves have 
reached. Daily decisions as to what approaches 
shall be made must be intuitive—how wise Miss 
Churchill appears to me to be when she insists 
upon that. 

We are dealing with the fear that there are no 
longer any standards. But surely here is the test 
question—how emotionally secure is this or that 
child ? Is the challenge coming to one who feels 
he ‘belongs’ and ‘counts’ and is loved for himself 
and not merely for what he can do or does do; in 
other words, how whole or how partial is his 
response likely to be ? 

For twenty-three years, since I became a 
psychotherapist, I have been discovering more 
and more certainly that if you deepen the level 
at which a group lives you find that clearer 
thinking, fluency, artistic discrimination, basic 
skills and other skills follow. But you must not 
waver in your main aim and place it on a level 
with the dictation of achievement (avowed or 
not avowed) or your education will become 
acquisitive and quantitative — credit seeking. 
The poor creatures will forget that they are also 
creators. 

In our community the social situations and 



THE NEW ERA 


122 

personal issues arc highly educative in ways they 
do not, so to speak, set out to be. The leisure 
becomes informed; academic needs invoke per¬ 
sonal effort and enjoyment and co-operation; all 
this and more so long as goals are forgotten and 
the amount is not worshipped (this looks after 
itself as it will ever do for the alert and eager who 
have come, through shared relaxation, to ‘will the 
means with the end’). 

Certainly emotionally disturbed adolescents 
cannot gain academically and culturally if they 
are not protected in varying degrees from a more 
or less inflexible time-table and from so much 
that a really wise inspector knows has so fre¬ 
quently ‘educated’ children in school away from 
wholeness of life. All the subjects of a curriculum 
can minister to the child and his society. It is an 
irony of my life that I came to healing through a 
discovery of how to use ‘subjects’ to release and 
emotionally re-educate young people, but now 
have so frequently to plead or insist that they 
should be protected from subject-teaching in so 
far as it can do harm. Of the four groups listed 
by Mr. Hemming in the May number of this 
journal, arc not his groups III and IV the essential 
conditions upon which the other two may have 
to wait — to their own gain, and indeed at times 
for their very life. 

When bluff is not needed and there is willing¬ 
ness to say and write what is ‘felt and thought’ 
rather than what teacher wants, there comes an 
alertness and honesty and sensitiveness which 
makes every talk and activity personal, ensuring 
that there is no serious lack of the experience 
‘It dawns on me.’ 

Ponder, then, over the standards as they were 
once applied by parents and teachers. Ask 
yourself how often you have found it possible to 
attack or criticize a child who was failing in 
regard to any of them without developing or 
increasing a sense of insecurity and painful 
separation in the ‘offender’. Recall how hard it 
was to ‘make it up' when, as a fourteen-year-old 
you had quarrelled with your friend. Remember 
how grateful you were to the person w r ho somehow 
made you absolutely sure that he would not 
laugh at you or alarm you or over-challenge you 
when he was teaching you to swim. Contrast him 
with the person who merely said ‘you can trust 
me' but never managed to convince you that you 
could safely let go. Note how, even now, you can 


July-Aug. 1953 

make all the difference to somebody from whom 
you have had to borrow a pound-note if you say 
convincingly, ‘Now don’t be at all shy about 
reminding me if I forget about it. I really really 
shall not mind.' And, while we are with the word 
‘forget’, acknowledge how hard most people find 
it to say quite simply ‘I forgot' instead of ‘I was 
about to . . . but just at that moment . . .’ 

In my community I feel I must resist attempts 
to persuade me into trying to make the best of 
two incompatible worlds. I would say after 
forty-one years’ experience, that the basic skills 
develop and cultural and academic advance takes 
place in a sort of inverse proportion to much that 
is ordinarily considered essential. I do not propose 
to dogmatize here concerning the schooling of 
those who have not clearly shown themselves to 
be emotionally and socially retarded or unstable. 
But I suspect that what I have found to be the 
way for these latter is not without significance 
for the so-called normal and those who teach 
them. For I sense a real wish in teachers to 
raise the academic and cultural level and no 
longer merely to measure and praise and reward 
a partial response in their pupils. 

The deepening of community or group life so 
that real security brings a realization of a member¬ 
ship one of another that waits to be realized — this 
must be our first consideration. Within that life 
the drag of the gang or the herd can be recognized 
for what it is, and then fear and loneliness are 
overcome instead by love. Then all kinds of 
varying challenges can be made intuitively — that 
is better than with an eye to standards. But the 
intuition must derive and develop out of the deep 
level of group life. Academic and other efforts 
which replace membership by contract and sap 
energy are suspect, however satisfactory the 
immediate results may appear to be to the 
individual or to the community of which he is a 
member. 

Meanwhile, if I am asked for practical help for 
a 1953 puzzled parent, I would say: Mix up the 
challenges you were given (which are bound to 
slip out !) with words and deeds which suggest 
effectively that you are not idolatrously wor¬ 
shipping the standards implied and that you will 
be at hand should any challenge cause too great 
confusion or loneliness or guilt. So prove you a 
guide with a sense of direction rather than a 
judge. 


CAN A CHILD BE SHARED ?' 

Margot Hicklin , Psychiatric Social Worker 


‘And the other woman said, nay, but the 
living is my son, and the dead is thy son. 
And this said, no, but the dead is thy son, 
and the living is my son.' — (Kings 1 , 3 , 22). 


W here do we draw the line between the 
parent’s child and the teacher’s child ? 
Anyone who has spent time and thought 
in talking to groups of parents and teachers will 
have felt the need of Solomonic wisdom in ap¬ 
proaching the imaginary but dangerous border¬ 
line that exists in the minds of these two kinds of 
people—who are often, individually, the same 
kind of people underneath. It is clear that we are 
dealing with their idea of their own role and with 
their idea of ‘the’ child rather than with any 
objective differences in themselves or in their 
children. Take as an example some frequent 
misunderstandings occurring on the semantic 
level. Mr. Hemming’s book title The Child is 
Right is often misquoted as The Child is Always 
Right, and appropriate indignation is directed at 
the inappropriate idea. Nevertheless, is there 
not some anti-parent implication in the title, 
even without the distortion ? Or take the slip 
of the pen or of the tongue often made by teachers 
in putting ‘capital’ punishment instead of 
‘corporal’ punishment. Verbuni sap. —a breaking 
through of more than the useful educational 
motive. 

In group discussion, especially when groups 
are mixed and contain parents who are or were 
teachers, nurses or others who deal with children 
professionally, members can sometimes be helped 
to get much closer to their unacknowledged ideas 
of their separate roles, awareness of which in¬ 
creases the readiness of both parties to cross the 
imaginary borderline between them. 

Let us first look at the aspects of teacher and 
parent which the other finds difficult to accept. 
When a mother is summoned to school or finds 
cause to go there of her own free will, her mood is 
often that of being prepared to defend her off¬ 
spring to the death—and her own reputation as 
a mother against all comers. This aggressive 
picture of a she-bear may be the first view the 


teacher gets of that particular parent, and if 
there are real difficulties or complaints the 
teacher wants to discuss, the prevailing wind will 
be adverse to mutual understanding. No one 
would find anything to grumble at in this initial 
clash if after a frank talk, the original hostile 
tendency could be overcome and the two adults, 
in their mutual concern for the welfare of the 
child, could make a plan for future co-operation. 
Alas, this does not happen as often as one would 
wish. Something is in the way of that simple 
and reasonable solution. Somewhere, the teacher 
is angry with the mother and blames her for all 
that has gone wrong with the child in the school 
situation. Somewhere, too, the mother feels 
inferior and guilty because she has not been able 
to teach her child all the fine things the teacher 
knows and which the mother herself often longs 
to learn. In other words, each puts the other 
into the role of parent—the person in authority, 
the person who creates or enriches the child. 
Unmarried teachers are often understandably 
jealous of physical parenthood, but this does not 
fully explain this subtle projection. By claiming 
the ‘good’ or live part of the child as exclusively 
her own, either teacher or parent may resemble 
the false mother in Solomon’s Judgment,— 
prepared to sacrifice the child rather than to give 
up possession or recognize spiritual parenthood 
in anyone else. 

As a result of these unsatisfactory encounters, 
parents and teachers may find it hard to see each 
other as they really are or even to benefit from 
meetings or social occasions which every good 
school tries to arrange. So much deliberate 
education misses the point by overestimating its 
reach, or overstating its aims. In a recent series 
of broadcasts called What is a Democratic 
Education, the High Master of Manchester 
Grammar School several times used some variant 
of the phrase: ‘The type of child we want to 
produce’. The assumption here is that ‘we’ 
(whether that includes parents or not) are agreed 
upon the type of child desirable, and also that 
‘we’ are able, by our conviction that it is desirable, 
actually to produce this result in human beings. 


1 Some Reflections upon the Mutual Education of Parents and Teachers, 
based upon Group Work with both. 


A2 






124 


THE NEW ERA 


Here, the very general belief is expressed that an 
overwhelmingly large proportion of the child’s 
being is within our power; how else could we 
claim to ‘produce’ it by education ? This time 
we are not concerned with a semantic problem, 
although it is by picking out the use of this 
phrase that we are trying to illustrate a wide¬ 
spread conception; nor is this example implying 
any criticism of the broadcasts themselves or 
of the system of teaching advocated in them. 
This assumption of omnipotence is to be found 
frequently in every-day contacts with parents 
and teachers; the conflict between them is like 
that which often happens between fathers and 
mothers, and takes the form of saying ‘my 
child’ when it is good and ‘your child' when it is 
bad. It is an attempt to claim the role of the 
creative and loving parent who is responsible for 
the living part of the child, and to put on to the 
other the role of incompetent or selfish parent 
who ‘kills’ the good in the child. 

Explicit teaching about bringing up children, 
however useful, cannot get behind the scenes of 
the battle to the more universal difficulties in¬ 
volved in parent-teacher relationships which, as 
we have tried to show, are not to be wholly dis¬ 
tinguished from parent-child relationships or 
even husband-wife relationships. Groups coming 
together for such study can, however, adopt ways 
of studying their subjects which allow them at 
the same time to study themselves as a group 
and, in doing so, to face these problems together. 
Professional and lay people and, best of all, 
groups consisting of both, are trying to do so 
with the help of someone to whom the principles 
of human dynamics, as indicated above, are 
familiar. Such groups are not, as a rule, formed 
for therapeutic purposes although a certain 
amount of healing should occur wherever mis¬ 
understandings and resentments are brought out 
into the open and, in so far as they are accessible, 
resolved. More than that, we experience in 
practice that many a student who comes to learn 
about a certain subject discovers other needs 
and other talents which lead to fulfilment in a 
hitherto unknown part of the personality. How 
does such a result come about, and how can we 
describe it without either claiming too much ? 

Some time ago, an adult education class met 
in a district which had not studied the psychology 
of children before, and where classes on other 
subjects had on several occasions dwindled away 


July-Aug. 1953 

from lack of interest. The twenty or so par¬ 
ticipants enrolled were mostly young mothers 
with several children — new babies included — 
but two nurses, two teachers and one or two 
other professional women took part. The syllabus, 
an elementary study of child development and 
child-care, did not differ from the ones in general 
use for such courses, and the books and pamphlets 
recommended were in no way beyond the reach 
of beginners on the subject. For two terms the 
work continued smoothly, except that there was 
some difficulty in complying with the regulation 
that essays had to be submitted at stated in¬ 
tervals. When, however, the end of the course 
approached, this seemed to the class a challenge 
to their newly-found collective existence and, 
upon their own initiative, they decided to work 
for a continuation of their meetings. The steps 
they took were interesting in themselves. First, 
the class secretary informed the lecturer of their 
intention; second, one of the students invited the 
others and the lecturer to her house for a dis¬ 
cussion that turned into a social function as well 
as a business one. Thirdly — and here the lecturer 
had her biggest surprise — the hitherto pen-tied 
mothers put their ideas on paper in answer to a 
set of questions suggested by them jointly and 
drafted by the tutor. Here are the results which 
may be of general interest: 

1. Why we attended the Course 

To ‘get away from home’; or because a friend 
suggested it; or because we had been always inter¬ 
ested in psychology and wanted more knowledge 
about it. One or two had come up against emotional 
problems with their children; again, several felt 
that they had made mistakes with their older 
children, and wanted to avoid repeating these with 
the younger. One mother says: ‘I felt it would put 
all my worries with which I had hitherto been shut 
up alone, on a much wider and more dignified basis. 
An important body was occupying itself with my 
special affairs . . .' 

After the first ten lectures, the same mother 
says: ‘I realized that here was just the help one 
needed and hoped for, given at a pace one could 
cope with. It was immensely cheering and up¬ 
lifting.' Another woman’s husband found that his 
wife’s mind had become stimulated, and a third 
student says: ‘the stimulation and interest that had 
been aroused by the subject generally, was giving 
me quite a new lease of life with my children.' For 
some members, the stimulation was coupled with 
another element: . I had become intensely 

interested in Child Psychology as a subject, apart 
from any application to my own family. I also . . . 


July-Aug. 1953 

found myself looking forward to hearing the 
lecturer as a person, and to meeting fellow students 
and friends.’ 

This feeling of friendliness and unity among the 
group grew in the second term. ‘The feeling of 
friendship with the lecturer and fellow students had 
grown stronger and I wanted to make it per¬ 
manent’, says one member. Another feels even 
more strongly about it: *. . . the thought of not 
continuing our studies upon so fascinating a subject 
during further sessions seemed quite inconceivable.’ 

2. What we liked and disliked about the 

Group 

‘I enjoyed hearing the problems of other mothers, 
and realized that my own were no worse and 
perhaps not even as bad . . .’is typical of the initial 
relief felt by nearly all members. The give-and- 
take of discussion was the most valuable thing to 
one of them, especially as ‘students knew that their 
questions, even the less sensible and irrelevant 
ones, would be answered patiently.’ One mother 
says that she valued ‘watching and taking part in 
the development of the group from a number of 
isolated individuals till it became a unit of interest 
and study . . .’ 

As work proceeded in the second term, this 
feeling of unity grew: ‘the group seemed to have 
assumed an almost complete solidarity . . .’ and 


125 

at the same time the interest in the subject matter 
grows: . . . our field of study became so fascinating 
that I found almost all my leisure reading was, 
and still is, spent in works relating to our subject.’ 
It was felt, too, that the common knowledge of the 
group of mothers and the specialist approach of 
the lecturer were together actively helping people 
with their problems of child upbringing, although 
the lecturer had emphasized that individual solu¬ 
tions could not be expected from a course of study 
of this kind. 

I here were two points of dislike expressed: one, 
that the lecturer had to set essay subjects, in 
accordance with regulations, and that the members 
felt themselves unable to write these essays. The 
other, that as a group, we had failed to absorb 
every one of our members into this feeling of unity; 
(the purpose of study of one or two had been other 
than those enumerated above). Against this, one 
mother expresses pleasure in ‘the general feeling of 
unity rather than criticism’, and another in ‘a 
friendly atmosphere which was helpful, restful and 
stimulating . . . also the feeling that each member 
was contributing her share . . .' On the intellectual 
plane, one mother said: ‘Psychology had seemed, 
from my previous knowledge, a very young science 
with hypotheses and no laws. I found it stimu¬ 
lating to learn how much had been consolidated 
and made ready for practice . . .’ 


CAN A CHILD BE SHARED ? 



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126 

3. Some of the results we noted 

‘1 find that my attitude towards my home life is 
now much happier; the constant pressure which 
besets one when one is always in the company of 
small children, no longer seems to press upon 
me . . is one mother’s view. Another puts a 
similar thought differently: The relationship with 
my husband and the two elder children has not 
changed noticeably, but I think my relationship 
with the baby is different from what it would have 
been if I had not attended the group. It is a more 
natural relationship . . And a third says: ‘I am 
sure both I and my children have benefited by my 
attendance . . .’ A fourth woman puts it like this: 

‘I find the home atmosphere easier and happier 
than before . . . again, I am more tolerant, but also 
sometimes offer advice which I feel I can do with 
a greater experience . . Here is another point of 
view’: ‘I have become much more interested in 
psychology, and have tried to apply what I have 
learned where I can.’ And here is someone who 
honestly admits her limitations: It did help me to 
understand the requirements of my child, though 
I couldn’t really carry them out . . And one 
mother, after saying she has learned to be more 
confident in her own handling of her rather nervous 
daughter, adds: \ . . (I got) the feeling that maybe 
I know' as well as they do (the other mothers), if 
not better, how to bring up my own child.' 

4. Ideas that have changed 

Though the results just mentioned show’ a change 
of underlying ideas as well as of attitudes, we 
thought it worth while noting some of the concepts 
that had undergone a conscious modification. 
‘Psychology as regards children need not be a 
selfish training but consider the trainee also . . . 
that the mother should not sacrifice herself too 
much and so lose her individuality, lessen her 
character which will have repercussions on her 
family . . is one way of saying it. The way 
another student puts it is: ‘I have realized that the 
love and care of the mother is even more important 
than I thought; ... it seems that one way to bring 
about a peaceful, happy world is to bring up 
happy children.’ She sums up by saying that the 
great lesson for her was not to expect too much cf 
people, of her own children and of human nature 
generally . . . This general feelmg is echoed by 
another mother who says: ‘I have gained a more 
patient outlook upon life as a whole.’ It will be 
realized that these few remarks cannot tell the 
whole story of the changes brought about in each 
person, as they are incidental to her whole life 
setting; but there is a good deal of agreement 
about the general development from personal need 
to group co-operation, and from this to w’ider 
generalizations and abstractions. 

This becomes especially noticeable when we turn 
from the lessons learned to plans for future study. 
The wish to continue with the subject, even during 
the summer months when no course of lectures is 
offered, has led to a private meeting of the group 


July-Aug. 1953 

to discuss how’ they might carry on in the mean¬ 
time: ‘We would like to keep in touch with other 
members, and to attend films on ( hild Psychology 
is one expression of opinion. Almost the same 
words are used by a student who adds: '. . . also 
read books, etc., to keep in touch w ith the excellent 
work’, and another says almost pugnaciously: I 
feel that during the summer months we should 
definitely fight for existence.’ Occasional meetings 
during the summer months are the general desire; 
some wish to get to know one another better, 
others ‘to keep alive the strong group spirit so that 
during the next autumn session we shall be ready 
to continue together our studies in child psy¬ 
chology . . 

5. Where do we go from here ? 

‘During next autumn session, I would like the 
group to go through the syllabus again, going more 
deeply into psychological theory and studying 
problems in more detail.’ Here is one student who 
wants to penetrate deeper into the subject; another 
one is more in favour of ‘special attention to the 
problem of education in world citizenship. It seems 
to me that we mothers may, by our studies, and 
by the application of the theories so acquired, be 
able to help in some small measure towards the 
solution of what at present seem insoluble w'orld 
problems.’ The balance between the two views is 
expressed in these w'ords by a third mother: 

'. . . more aspects of the normal child in the normal 
home, and an enlargement and continuation of our 
lectures during the last session.’ Similarly, one 
other wishes the lectures ‘to be continued in the 
same strain, and as our knowledge grow’s, the scope 
could be enlarged. The atmosphere created is ideal 
for learning.’ This enlargement of the field is 
desired by one woman ‘. . . especially in the w r ay 
of education, the benefits or otherwise of the big 
school which moulds to a pattern or following a 
narrower training such as art or music. Also the 
value of adult education . . .’ 

6. Some individual view’s 

‘There should be more lectures specially made 
for women who on the whole w r ork far too hard 
physically and do not get really any mental 
stimulus to keep them happy. Lectures which 
would take women out of their home and environ¬ 
ment and which w’ould be near at hand, and which 
would not require physical effort such as bus 
journeys or essay writing w'ould go a long way 
towards making many a home a much more happy 
place.’ On the question of writing essays, another 
mother has strong views too: ‘I was grateful for 
the fact that our lecturer did not insist on regular 
w’ritten work although she did set a subject for 
written work each week for those who had time to 
contribute in this way — but as the lectures were 
attended by mothers of anything between one and 
three children there were few who found themselves 
able to submit written w’ork, but on the other 
hand many, such as myself, who w’ere able to carry 
out in a practical way and with immediate and 


THE NEW ERA 



July-Aug. 1953 can a child 

gratifying effect the advice contained in the weekly 
lectures.' Another comment is on ‘the imper¬ 
manence of the arrangements. It would have been 
much more satisfying to know that we could con¬ 
tinue in our group from strength to strength after 
we had found so much together.’ Almost the same 
thought comes from another mother: ‘It would be 
a great pity if we could not continue to expand our 
lectures and our knowledge.’ And here is a good 
reason given for this continued study: ‘I feel far 
too much has up till now been left to what is 
considered “mother instinct’’, while training in all 
other things has become so essential. One has only 
to try to cook a meal, make a frock, paint a house 
or even write an essay without any experience or 
training to realize the value of education !’ The 
need for gradual training in intellectual activity, is 
expressed in another form as follows: ‘I found it 
difficult to take notes ... it was delightful just to 
listen . . . personally, I need training to retain the 
impression made by such lectures.’ And finally, a 
personal experience which may well apply to a 
good many women who have not the gift of ex¬ 
pressing themselves so forcibly: ‘I feel . . . that a 
course of this kind is fulfilling an urgent need. 
Mothers of young children are finding life a great 
physical strain these days, and are feeling intellect¬ 
ually frustrated. I myself, seem to have been born 
again mentally since I took the course. Before that 
I was in a state of mental apathy and stagnation 
and vowed I was too tired for intellectual pursuits. 
Now I read once again with avidity. The course 
provided just the sort of mental stimulus I so 
urgently needed.’ 

Any teacher reading these notes will be struck 
by the mothers’ great desire for further education, 
which goes far beyond the subject of child up¬ 
bringing into the fields of intellectual and 
creative endeavour. In these, many teachers 
excel. There is also the constantly repeated wish 
to make use of the experience of parenthood in 
a wider social setting in which detached under¬ 
standing of oneself and others is needed. In this, 
too, the teacher, by virtue of her training and 
experience, is likely to be the more knowledgeable. 

I have not room enough to balance this account 
with one in similar detail of classes attended 
mainly by teachers of every degree of experience. 
Such an account should be most useful to parents, 
whose understanding of the teachers’ problem is 
inadequate. All I can say here is that, where the 
size of the group allowed of the seminar method 
being used, coupled with intensive individual 
study and tutorial help, the changes in teachers’ 
attitudes could be summed up in similar terms to 
those used by the parent group. Above all, the 
reverse movement from the intellectual to the 
emotional understanding of children and of one’s 


BE SHARED ? j 27 

role in relation to them, was fostered. The results 
of this could be seen in the development of their 
discussions on difficult or ‘problem’ children, who 
turned from being ‘nuisances’ into cherished 
friends, towards whom especially warm ‘parental’ 
feelings might be permitted. 

What, then, remains of the fundamental 
difference between the ‘parent’s child’ and the 
teacher s, once these resistances to understanding 
have been, if not resolved, at least brought out 
into the open for examination ? In the past, 
too much attention may have been paid to the 
importance of physical parenthood and child-care, 
whereas the creative effort involved in education 
had been labelled a substitute, or at best, a sub¬ 
limation of parental love. Now we know that 
the growth and development of a child is as 
important as the endowment it receives from its 
inheritance; and we know that many a mother is 
unable to allow this growth to happen, because 
she fears to lose some of the instinctive satis¬ 
factions that the close dependence of the baby 
upon the feeding mother provides. In the 
early days of our advances in understanding the 
child, mother love was understood only in its 
positive, idealized aspect, and the teacher had 
to take over some of the features of the forbidding 
ogre who curbs this exclusive relationship by her 
demands. The teacher finds it hard to shake off 
this role under which he or she may have suffered 
not a little, and it will be of tremendous benefit 
to the teaching profession when the maturing 
concepts of child psychology penetrate into the 
schools. The feeding and nurturing role, hitherto 
reserved to the parent, will then be seen to apply 
with equal value to the educational situation. 
In this way, no longer need the teacher’s role 
be one of ‘producing’ citizens or scholarship 
students; on the other hand, the inclusion of the 
parent in the teaching situation will complete 
the sense of community, without the dangerous 
break across the imaginary borderline within the 
child. Viewed in this way as an extended family 
group, parent and teacher need no longer 
dispute one another creative parenthood; con¬ 
flicts between them will and must occur, for 
growth proceeds through the meeting of op¬ 
posites. Those concerned with bringing parents 
and teachers into relation with each other, can 
therefore confidently apply the technique of 
Solomon when it is interpreted as a challenge to 
the true creativeness of both parent and teacher. 




SALUTE TO BEDALES 

Paul Piobcrts 


T his summer Bedales School celebrates its 
Diamond Jubilee and the occasion seems a 
fitting one for paying tribute to a great 
educational achievement. If the present account 
appears to those who know the school from the 
inside to fail in comprehension of its true inward¬ 
ness, it is to be hoped that they will remember 
that it is merely the impressions made by it on 
an outsider over the last twenty-five years, that 
we all see in anything only what our limitations 
permit us to see and that, anyhow, we inevitably 
see things through our own spectacles. 

First for bare bones. The school takes its 
name from a country house near Haywards Heath 
in Sussex where J. H. Badley opened in 1893 
with three boys and a staff of six, an interesting 
indication of the faith which was to sustain and 
carry it from strength to strength through the 
vicissitudes of the following sixty years. Girls 
were first admitted in 1898 when there were 
already sixty boys in the school and it was not 
until 1920 that the numbers of the two sexes 
became approximately equal. I here are now, 
including Dunhurst, the Junior School, some¬ 
thing over 320 boys and girls. In 1900 the 
school moved to its present site at Steep on the 
northern outskirts of Petersfield in Hampshire, 
where all its buildings have been designed and 
built for their specific purposes and are the envy 
of all but a very few of the boarding schools in 
the country. 

The last thing the founder would wish is that 
his plan of education should be judged by its 
wordly successes and yet an impressive list of 
these, for the size of the school at least, shows 
that the deeper and truer things he cared for 
were not a handicap to material success. During 
the last seven years the school has gained thirteen 
open scholarships or exhibitions to universities 
and four musical scholarships. In later life 
distinction has been won in many different 
spheres. Two Victoria Crosses, a George Cross, 
five Knighthoods, three bellows of the Royal 
Society, an Ambassador, a Principal Medical 
Officer to the Ministry of Health, a \ ice-Chancel- 
lor of the University of London, a Director of the 
Tate Gallery, a Chief Engineer to the B.B.C., 
several of the leading craftsmen in the country, 
Presidents of both the Oxford and of the Cam¬ 


bridge Boat Clubs and many ‘blues’, all this and 
much more from a school whose total list of 
traceable old pupils has not yet reached 2,500 
and a school which, although it holds an entrance 
test, does not admit candidates wholly, or even 
mainly, on the grounds of academic or intel¬ 
lectual achievement. 

Whenever one contemplates Bedales it is 
inevitable that the picture should be largely 
filled by its great founder who, although he retired 
from the headship eighteen years ago, is still 
agile and forward-looking in mind and unusually 
vigorous in body as he approaches his ninetieth 
year. During the later years of his headship the 
writer once said to one of his colleagues, I he 
“Chief” must have some wonderful stories to tell 
about the early struggles of the school', and the 
answer he got was, ‘Well, you know, no one ever 
hears them; he never talks about the past but 
only about the future.’ The same thing is true 
about him even to-day. Simple, courtly, gentle, 
shy, modest, tolerant, bearing fools gladly. It is 
unlikely that he himself realizes how much he 
does to draw lesser folk a little nearer to his own 
stature by his tolerance and encouragement of 
them. And yet strong. The school could not 
have become what it has if there had not been 
a single-minded and inflexible pursuit of those 
ideas which he considered fundamental and a 
realistic translation of them into the practices 
of everyday life. 

Like all educational plans which have made 
serious contributions to the development of our 
educational philosophy, that of Bedales was based 
on a digested and mature philosophy of life. 
There is not space here to make even a short 
analysis of J. H. Badley’s philosophy nor is this 
writer the person to do it. For any one sufficiently 
interested it is to be found in almost any one of 
his published works. 1 Very shortly its basis is a 
respect for human personality, a belief in its 
uniqueness and in its wholeness. Every human 
individual is a unique creation and is, or can be, 
a whole person, a balanced combination of head, 
heart and hand. There is a close interaction 
between wholeness of personality and fullness of 
life. Only whole people can live fully and only 
by living fully can one become a whole person. 

• Notably The Will to Fuller Life and Form and Spirit. 


128 







July-Aug. 1953 

The educational implication was clear, 
uniqueness of every child must be respected and 
there must be room and freedom and fullness 
and simplicity of life for him so that he may 
develop to his maximum potential that wholeness 
of personality which is his birthright. 

To-day all this may sound a little trite. It is 
the common coin of every educational conference 
though it must be confessed that it still gets more 
lip service than practical application. But half 
a century ago, when it was blue-printed by J. H. 
Badley and given sane and realistic expression 
in the planning and development of his school, 
it was revolutionary. It is not easy to-day to 
appreciate the courage and faith which must have 
been required to persevere as he did, in the face 
of an atmosphere which was critical and even 
hostile and derisory and of short term results 
which were not always wholly promising. The 
Bedales of to-day and the lives of hundreds of 
men and women throughout the world are the 
justification of his faith. 

The ‘Chief’ has been singularly fortunate in his 
successors. F. A. Meier, 1935-46, a vital and 
lovable personality, -a skilful and shrewd admini¬ 
strator and a brilliant teacher did much to give 


129 

the school financial stability. He advanced its 
prestige by establishing high academic standards 
and demonstrating that these were not incom¬ 
patible with the freedom and fullness of life 
for which the school stood and with the 
breadth of curriculum, the Music, Drama, 
Arts, ('rafts and innumerable hobbies and 
interests which were regarded as an essential 
part of the plan. 

H. B. Jacks, who has been headmaster since 
1946, combines with a deep and sympathetic 
understanding of the ideals of the founder a 
mind of his own which will not permit any sort 
of crystallization to set in and a clear-sighted 
capacity to put first things first and not to lose 
sight of the wood for the trees. It is very certain 
that so long as he is there the Bedales light will 
not grow dim, nor will the integrity which has 
always characterized it be diminished. 

What are the main things that over the years 
strike the visitor to Bedales ? If he is unfamiliar 
with co-education, the natural mixing of boys and 
girls together may appear a little startling, but, 
if he is familiar with it he will take that for 
granted knowing that it had to be a concom- 
mitant of any real fullness of life. 


SALUTE TO BEDALES 

The 


HISTORY BUILDS THE TOWN 

By Arthur Korn 

£ To master the town one must first know it’. With this principle in mind the author 
sets out to establish the laws which govern the town, its birth, growth and decline, and 
determine its structure. From the primitive nomads to the first permanent settlement, 
from the guild to the modern factory, and finally to the gigantic plans for irrigating the 
vast Central Asian steppes and deserts; throughout history man has been stmggling 
with Nature and learning to control her. We therefore see the town as a product of 
society, a reflection of its productive forces, and its class structure throughout the ages. 

The work is profusely illustrated with a great variety of collotype plates, two being 
reproduced (by letterpress) on the facing page. 

The author is lecturer on Town Planning at the architectural Association School of 
Architecture, London. 

Crown Ato. Full cloth and wrapper. Price £2 l(b. 


LUND HUMPHRIES 

12 Bedford Square, London, W.C.l 









130 THE NEW ERA July~Aug. 1953 


The first thing, perhaps, after this will be the 
simplicity of life. There can be no real fullness 
or richness in life without a basis of simplicity. 
In spite of the increased complexity which the 
last fifty years has brought and in spite of the 
fact that so much more elaborate equipment is 
nowadays demanded for the education of chil¬ 
dren, Bedales still strikes the outsider as 
having, in common with the Quaker schools, 
retained much of that fundamental simpli¬ 
city of life which was so dear to the heart of 
its founder. 

Although the visitor will be struck by the 
atmosphere of activity in the place — it is a rare 
thing to come across an aimless child — he will, 
if he explores a little further, be still more struck 
by what might be called an absence of stunts. 
There is never any sign of anything being done 
for effect or for eyewash. Every activity gives 
the impression either of being related to first 


principles or of arising from the spontaneous 
interest of the children. 

It may surprise some people who have not seen 
for themselves and have heard only garbled or 
prejudiced accounts of the school that it is hard 
not to be impressed by an atmosphere which can 
only be described as religious. No one can be 
present at the ordinary Sunday service without 
feeling that here is an act of worship which is 
simple and true and moving. It is needless to 
say that in the daily life there is no sign of either 
formalism or of pietism and yet, more than in 
any other school known to the writer, there is a 
feeling of being in a community which is in the 
deepest sense religious. 

All those who respect the work done by Bedales 
will hope that it may continue to render to 
English education during the second half of the 
century as distinguished service as it has done 
during the first. 


EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH' 

A. Pinsent, Advisory Officer, Faculty of Education, University College of Wales 


7 ^he National Foundation for Educational 
Research in England and Wales was formally 
constituted in 1945. 

The idea of a national research institute in 
education was by no means new and, due in great 
part to the influence of the late Sir Fred Clarke, 
an embryonic organization had began to work, 
albeit somewhat fitfully, before 1945. from this 
the reconstituted Foundation took over some 
researches already in progress, started additional 
special investigations, and set up a section for the 
production of standardized tests. Since 1947, 
the Foundation has published two lists of re¬ 
searches in education and educational psychology 
covering the period 1918-1949; two reports on 
allocation to secondary education; an investiga¬ 
tion of the educability of cerebral palsied children; 
a survey of rewards and punishments in schools; 
and some fourteen standardized tests. The 
Foundation has now in hand researches on an 
individual intelligence test for blind children; on 
the effects of coaching on performance in stan¬ 
dardized objective tests; on the nature and use 
of cumulative school records; and on visual aids. 2 
This record reveals the ad hoc nature of the 


• Review of Statement of Policy issued by the National Foundation for 
Education Research in England and Wales. 16 pp. Copies of this may 
be obtained from the Director, National Foundation for Educational 
Research, 79 Wimpolc Street, London, W.l, price 6 d. per copy, or 
W. per copy tor orders of 25 and over. 

i See Sixth Annual Report, 1951-52. 


research programme hitherto, a feature inevitable 
during the early years of a research institute in 
the field of education where there is so little 
concensus of opinion concerning what such an 
institute can and should do and such disgustingly 
meagre financial provision for doing it. In these 
conditions, work for which there is an insistent 
immediate demand must be undertaken at the 
expense of a long-term plan. 

Long-term research, particularly where teams 
of workers are involved, needs a consistent 
policy. The authorities of the National Founda¬ 
tion are very well aware of this. They have 
published, recently, a ‘Statement of Policy’ in 
which a long-term plan of work is set out. 

This statement is noteworthy for at least two 
reasons: — (a) it makes public the intentions of 
the governing body thereby making it possible 
for the Foundation’s work to become, as it should 
be, a matter of national interest; (6) the policy 
is based on a principle of first-rate importance 
for educational theory and practice, namely, that 
the proper function of education is guidance . 

Education as Guidance 

Guidance, in this context, must not be confused 
with vocational guidance, or with clinical child 
guidance concerned with the alleviation or cure 
of disorders of behaviour and of the learning 
processes. It is, instead, a description of ‘one 



131 


July-Aug. 1953 


educational research 


fundamental way of looking at the processes of 
education and the activities of the teacher — the 
mediating between the needs, powers, interests 
and experience of the growing child on the one 
hand and the needs, responsibilities, opportunities 
and values of adult life on the other'. 

Guidance, from this point of view, includes 
teaching as a special case. The teacher’s function 
is to provide opportunities for learning and 
growth; and to assess progress, discover and 
diagnose difficulties in learning and development 
as they occur within the school and apply appro¬ 
priate remedies. The administrator’s business is 
to organize the services necessary for these 
educational processes. 

This underlying principle reflects an important 
change in the recent ‘climate’ of educational 
opinion. It was fashionable, formerly, to en¬ 
visage education within the school as a process 
of submitting pupils regardless of age, ability 
and interests to the authority of a logically- 
structured academic subject or set of subjects. 
It is now regarded, in theory at least, as a process 
of making a curriculum and school organization 
into a medium for promoting optimum growth 
and development of individual pupils. Thus the 
Foundation’s policy is soundly based upon a 
promising trend in modern educational thinking. 

This principle makes practicable the Founda¬ 
tion’s intention to distinguish clearly between a 
basic long-term research programme and ad hoc 
investigations. Ad hoc investigations of urgent 
practical import will still be considered as oc¬ 
casion and finance permit; but they will not be 
allowed to prejudice the future development of 
the proposed basic programme. This distinction 
is sound. For an example of the way in which 
immediate practical administrative demands can 
divert attention and effort from fundamental 
research we need to look no further than the use 
of standardized objective tests for selecting 
grammar school entrants at age eleven plus. For 
reasons which are by no means educational, 
secondary education has been identified with a 
grammar school career. However, so few gram¬ 
mar school places are available in comparison 
with the numbers now statutorily entitled to 
secondary education that the administrator’s 
immediately urgent problem is how to exclude all 
but a minority of pupils from a grammar type of 
schooling in such a way that no interested parties 
can claim that the exclusion is unfair. 1 hus, 
attention is diverted from research into the 
proper function of standardized tests as instru¬ 
ments of educational guidance (that is as reliable 
objective estimates of the relative capacity and 
progress of individual pupils) to the elaboration 


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Creative Writing 

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JULY 17-27 

JULY 28- 
AUGUST 11 


SUMMER SCHOOLS 

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Write or ring Warden for particulars of charges, arrange¬ 
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of defence mechanisms for educational admini¬ 
strators. The suspicion that this is the case is, 
probably, one reason for much of the layman’s 
suspicion of the tests. 


Major Problems of Educational Guidance 

Many people still hold obstinately to the opinion 
that we already know as much as need be known 
about education and teaching methods. The fact 
is, however, we know very little, in detail, in the 
context of education as guidance. I he problems of 
guidance as set out in the ‘Statement of Policy’ 
are: 


(a) Pupils and their personal development—abilities, 
aptitudes, attainments, interests, character, and mental 
health. 

(, b ) The curriculum—ultimately, this must include 
what is necessary for the requirements of society, but 
at the same time the content must be adapted con¬ 
tinuously to the developing capabilities and experience 
of individual pupils. How can the adaptation be most 
effectively organized ? 

(c) Methods of learning and teaching—their com¬ 
parative efficiency in a given context, and then appro¬ 
priate uses, e.g. formal versus activity methods, 
individualized learning and instruction versus group 
techniques . 1 


» At the moment too many methods are adopted on an all or none 
basis as being entirely correct o r entirely wrong irrespective of the 
conditions in which they are used. 







132 


THE NEW ERA 


(d) Standards of attainment—what standards can 
reasonably be expected of pupils when attainment is 
related to ability and experience, and to the efficiency of 
different teaching methods rather than to chronological 
age ? 

(f) Curricula and institutions—what variety and 
balance of courses and schools are required to deal 
adequately with items (a), (6), (c), and (d) above ? 

(/) Teachers—their selection, training and further 
education. 

The second aspect of the teacher’s work — 
assessment of capacity and progress and diagnosis 
of difficulties will be catered for by the Foundation 
through the further development of its test 
services. Also, since diagnosis should lead to 
remedial work, the discovery of the most effective 
remedial techniques will be an important part of 
the Foundation’s programme. 

Three Stages of Schooling 

Educational guidance must be continuous 
throughout the years of schooling but research 
into it can be directed in relation to three main 
stages, namely: — primary, transition, and second¬ 
ary. 

The predominant theme of the Foundation’s 
programme at the primary stage will be ‘Guidance 
in the Primary School with special reference to 
teaching methods and standards of attainment 
in language and number.’ In this stage, in addi¬ 
tion to the general problems already indicated, 
attention will be directed to problems of learning 
readiness (in other words, when is the best time 
to introduce pupils to new tasks and methods); 
and to the most effective use of primary school 
records as an integral part of the procedure for 
transfer to secondary education. 

The transition stage is said to include a group 
of related problems (of which allocation is already 
being investigated intensively), namely, effects of 
differing school environments and of coaching 
and practice on performance in standardized 
tests; procedures for assessing borderline candi¬ 
dates; late transfer to grammar schools; selec¬ 
tion for technical and commercial courses; use 
of school records and teachers’ assessments; 
methods of marking. 

In the secondary stage the following main lines 
of work are envisaged: — studies of the adjustment 
of primary school leavers to new conditions of 
secondary school life; continuity in subject 
teaching between primary and secondary schools; 
differentiation of courses and methods in relation 
to abilities and interests of pupils and to their 
probable vocational needs. 

The Foundation will undertake special in¬ 
vestigations if these can be financed independently 
of the basic research programme. As examples of 
such projects the ‘Statement of Policy' names two: 


July-Aug. 1953 

—the standardization of an individual intelligence 
scale in Welsh, and studies in the personality 
development of secondary school children. 

The above account indicates the general scope 
of the Foundation’s long-term plans in so far as 
research is concerned. The Statement includes 
also notes on research methods appropriate to 
educational problems, finance, publications, and 
liaison with Local Education Authorities, 
Teachers' Associations, Universities, and inter¬ 
national educational agencies. 

Priorities 

In planning a research programme it is neces¬ 
sary to decide (a) what are the right questions to 
ask and ( b ) in what order should the questions be 
investigated. 

Contrary to much misinformed general opinion, 
scientific research is not merely a process of 
collecting facts. If it were, its value for intel¬ 
lectual progress would be somewhere near the 
level of stamp-collecting. The permanent value 
of scientific research depends more on asking the 
right questions from a fruitful point of view than 
on collecting facts as such. So far as this is 
concerned the National Foundation’s research 
policy seems to be well-founded on the concept 
of education as guidance. 

The next problem concerns priorities. In the 
‘Statement of Policy’ the priorities indicated are: 

(a) General :— 

Emphasis on applied research into problems of 
public need within the education service of the 
publicly maintained school system; 

Very high priority to problems of allocation at 
eleven plus; 

Immediate steps to set up enquiries into primary 
schools problems of language and number. 

Studies in problems of secondary education to be 
undertaken as opportunities and resources permit. 

( b ) Specific. Within these wider topics certain more 

specific priorities are mentioned, namely:— 
Studies of the incidence of abilities and interests 
appropriate to technical training; 

Exploration of the problems of the 'secondary 
modem' type of school or department; 

Production of new types of attainment tests par¬ 
ticularly in English and particularly for use in 
primary schools; 

Production of linked attainment and ability tests; 
Investigation of a range of diagnostic and remedial 
instruments required for effective application of 
research findings in the classroom. 

Assessment of the correctness of any order of 
priority is likely to be determined, in practice, by 
each individual assessor’s most insistent practical 
problems. However, accepting the Foundation’s 
emphasis on research into problems of public 
need within the publicly maintained service, 
some guide to a realistic order of priority might 
be indicated by reference to the difficulties which 


July-Aug. 1953 educational research 

seem to be felt most acutely at the present time 
by many practising teachers. 

Hitherto, standards of expectation and assess¬ 
ment have been determined by the traditional 
framework, namely, ‘elementary’ schooling for 
the majority up to age fourteen; selection of a 
‘grammar type’ from among elementary school 
pupils at age eleven plus; and grammar schooling 
for the selected minority with a view to university 
entrance examinations at age sixteen plus. In 
effect, university examination requirements have 
determined acceptable standards of attainment 
and efficient teaching methods as far down, in 
some cases, as the infant school. 

However, as soon as the school system is con¬ 
ceived as one progressive course for all pupils 
from age five to fifteen plus, and acceptable 
standards of attainment and of teaching efficiency 
are estimated in terms of educational guidance, 
the traditional criteria need revision. The 
questions causing most concern to practising 
teachers at the moment seem to be:— 

(a) What is secondary education if it is not 

preparation for a matriculation type of examina¬ 
tion ? In other words what ought to be done for 
the ‘non-grammar’ pupils now coming into 
secondary schools. This needs unbiassed in¬ 
vestigation of curricula and -- 

teaching methods in relation to 
abilities, temperaments and inter¬ 
ests as well as to probable future 
occupation. This category in¬ 
cludes, particularly, the secon¬ 
dary ‘modern’ problem as well as 
the problem of an adequate 
treatment of exceptionally gifted 
children. 

(b) What should be the correct 
relation between a number of pri¬ 
mary schools each sending pupils 
at age eleven plus to one com¬ 
mon secondary school ? What 
standards of attainment can the 
secondary schools reasonably 
expect of the primary school 
leavers in language and number ? 

Can any definitive standards be 
prescribed for all pupils entering 
secondary education ? 

If, in terms of educational 
guidance and the 1944 Act no 
standards such as ‘All entrants 
to secondary education at age 
eleven plus must be capable of 
such and such attainments in 
language and number’ can reason¬ 
ably be demanded then it follows 


133 

that secondary teachers must be prepared to 
undertake more individual or small-group tech¬ 
niques of teaching and classroom organization. In 
that case, in order to achieve a desirable continu¬ 
ity of treatment, the secondary teachers must 
have reliable records of the abilities and attain¬ 
ments of the individual primary school leavers. 

(c) If primary education is no longer to be 
determined by a grammar school selection ex¬ 
amination at age eleven plus, then what properly 
constitutes primary education in curriculum, 
organization and method ? 

Thus, the most urgent practical problems at the 
present time appear to centre round the period 
of transition, including at least the first year of 
post-primary schooling. In so far as this is a 
correct assessment it would indicate the following 
priorities for development:— 

(i) determination of standards of attainment in 
primary school language and number which can reason¬ 
ably be expected when equated with aptitudes and 
experience of pupils and efficiency of teaching methods 
instead of chronological age. This may need fresh types 
of attainment test. 

(ii) Allocation studies undertaken for the purpose 
indicated in the ‘Statement of Policy’ namely, for mak¬ 
ing practical recommendations to local education 
authorities on the most satisfactory types of procedure 


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By Sybil Clarke. An exciting reader for 
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each 2/6 

Bobbo the Brownie 

By Ivy H. Hewett. Illustrated. 

Bobbo Keeps Smiling 

By Ivy H. Hewett. Illustrated. 

Lo Chan from China 

By Mary F. Moore. 


Illustrated. 

Lombo 

An African Elephant 
By Mary F. Moore. Illustrated 


1/9 


1/6 


2/4 


The Windward Islands 

By Ronald Syme. A description of the 
scenery and people of the V/indward Islands, 
which includes some interesting historical 
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Plastercraft 

By Major H. Miller. A concise and very 
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Headers 

By Emily D. Smith. Thi, scries 

in the teaching of reading. |„ ten 
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VVrite for descriptive leaflet. ’ ' 
They retain all the advantages of the 
sentence method, and add to them 
the advantages of the older phonic 
method.” Professor B. Patt.son in the 
Foreword to the Teacher's Book. 



















134 


THE NEW ERA 


July-A ug. 1 953 


to be followed in matching pupils and courses in the 
secondary schools. This section must of necessity 
include many of the ‘secondary modern’ problems. 

(in) Studies of the perunl of adjustment of primary 
school leavers to new conditions of secondary school 
life. This must include the problem of securing con¬ 
tinuity of treatment, particularly in the basic subjects 
of language and number, as between the primary schools 
and the first secondary school year. This in its turn 
involves studies in methods of keeping primary school 
records and their systematic use for educational guid¬ 
ance in the secondary schools. It is also closely related 
to the objective determination of reasonable standards 
of primary school attainment. 

(it*) Studies in primary education — curriculum, organ¬ 
ization, and teaching methods. 

Education in Wales 

The National Foundation is intended for 
educational research in England and Wales. The 
‘Statement of Policy' acknowledges the implica¬ 
tions of this and mentions as a special investiga¬ 
tion of high priority the production of an indi¬ 
vidual intelligence scale in Welsh. 

So far as long-term research work in Wales 
is concerned the basic problems and order of 
priority are much the same as those indicated in 
the preceding paragraph. However, educational 
arrangements in Wales are complicated most 
horribly (from a research point of view) by the 
existence side by side of two different languages. 
The Welsh have adopted, officially, a bilingual 
policy. At the same time there is a serious lack 
of standardized attainment tests in language and 

The Things We See, No. 7. 

Lady Allen of Hurtwood and Susan 
Jellicoe. (Penguin Books, 5/-). 

This is a well-planned and illustrated 
Picture Book of Gardens. There are 
119 photographs, each accompanied by 
a short descriptive paragraph, and the 
material has been collected from many 
countries. 

The book is divided into two parts: 

The Home, and The Community, and 
opens with an Introduction. I wish 
the arrangement of this Introduction 
could have been designed to ’catch the 
eye’ a little more. It is invaluable and 
it will be a thousand pities if it is not 
read with care and attention. 

The Home section contains photo¬ 
graphs under such headings as Indoor 
Gardens, Balconies, Roof Gardens, 

Siting, Town Gardens and Country 
Gardens. In the Community section 
the headings include Communal Gardens 
for Flats and Homes, Parks, Children's 
Play, Schools, Work, etc. 

Under Children’s Play is a picture of 
a Junk Playground in Copenhagen 
with a fairly full description of this 
special type of children’s play space. 

The authors refer to the sight of ‘two 
to three hundred children cngrossingly 


number in Welsh. Again, the problems of adjust¬ 
ment of primary school leavers to new secondary 
school conditions are made much more difficult, 
particularly in rural areas, by the fact that the 
predominant medium of instruction in the 
primary schools is the mother tongue — Welsh — 
while that in the secondary schools is predomi¬ 
nantly English, in effect a foreign language. 

The most urgent need in Welsh education is 
systematic and objective investigation of bi¬ 
lingual problems as they effect the schools. This 
is possible, only by the construction in Welsh of 
reliable tests of intelligence and attainment 
standardized with respect to differing degrees of 
linguistic background. As the ‘Statement of 
Policy’ notes, methods of co-ordinating the 
resources of the National Foundation with 
educational research work in Wales have already 
been discussed. 

One feels that this ‘Statement of Policy’ is a 
timely document. It is also an important con¬ 
tribution to educational thinking which deserves 
to be widely read not only by administrators and 
research workers but by teachers and laymen 
concerned with education. It is most desirable 
that sufficient interest in the National Founda¬ 
tion’s work can be aroused and maintained to 
ensure that the basic long-term research plans 
indicated in the statement will be adequately 
financed. Without adequate finance there can 
be no fundamental long-term research. 


occupied’ ... 'a sight rarely enjoyed 
in the arid, expensively equipped play¬ 
grounds that are places of boredom for 
most children’. 

Under Schools (No. 101) we see an 
interesting method of breaking up an 
area into ‘spaces that are on a child’s 
scale’, an idea that might well be w’orth 
investigation w’hen consideration is 
being given to some of our bleaker 
Nursery School gardens. I think it is 
a pity that No. 105 is the only picture 
illustrating a garden planned to satisfy 
the young child’s desire for adventure 
and imaginative play. One can think 
of many schools in less favoured 
surroundings where this kind of play 
is equally, perhaps even more, possible. 
It is pleasant to see the younger chil¬ 
dren’s playground in the Infant School 
screened by informal groupings of 
bushes and plants, where low’ seats—a 
frequent omission—are provided. 

This is a booklet of ideas and 
‘pointers’. Too often people give no 
thought to the garden at all, whether it 
be the small private towm garden, the 
school garden or the public park and 
playground. What was good enough 
before is good enough now’. Time, 
money and labour are grievously mis¬ 
applied, and the expert advice avail¬ 


able is not asked for. The suitability 
of the garden for old or young, for 
tired sightseer, convalescent hospital 
patient, or the energetic teenagers is 
barely considered, and the intangible 
value of gardens in their effect on the 
human personality is blissfully ignored. 
Gardens grow slowly and mistakes are 
long-lived and costly to rectify. 

This book should be in the hands of 
all garden-lovers, even if their garden 
is only a w’indow’-box. Especially one 
w’ould like to see it on the desk of every 
Parks Superintendent and Education 
Officer, and the Chairman of their 
Committees. It is a unique book, and 
one to set people thinking about this 
most important part of our daily lives, 
and it seems to me to be w'orth 
more than its very modest price. 

Margaret Thorne 

Reviews of the following have been 
held over and will appear in the 
September-Octobcr issue: — 

The First Year in School, E. R. 

Boyce (Nisbet) 

Our Times: A Social History, 

1912-1952, Vivian Ogilvie (Batsford) 
The Teacher was Black, H. E. O. 

James and Cora Tcnen 

(Heincmann) 








INTERNATIONAL NEWS AND NOTES 


AUSTRALIA 

The official history of the N.E.F. in 
Australia dates from 1937, when a 
memorable Regional Conference was 
organized by International Head¬ 
quarters together with Dr. Harold 
Wyndham (now Director-General of 
Education in New South Wales). For 
this Conference a team of some 
twenty-five distinguished educationists 
from overseas countries visited each 
capital city, as well as New Zealand, 
holding lectures and discussions on 
Education for Complete Living. The 
ferment of controversy roused by this 
conference among professional educa¬ 
tors and the general public resulted in 
the formation of a Section of N.E.F. 
in each of the six Australian States. 
The Tasmanian Section has tw r o 
branches—Hobart and Launceston— 
and a branch of the N.S.W. Section has 
been formed in Armidale. A seventh 
Section was later formed in Canberra, 
Australian Capital Territory. Total 
Australian membership is about 1,900. 

Since Australia is so vast a country, 
it was felt necessary in 1944 to form a 
Federal Council of N.E.F., meeting in 
capital cities about every two years, 
through which the Sections could 
express their voice, at a federal level, 
on such broad issues as a basic 
educational policy and standards for 
Australia; the training and recruit¬ 
ment of school teachers; the education 
and assimilation of migrants; the 
problem of school examinations; the 
education of parents; the education 
of post-school youth and adults; the 
likely effect of television on children 
and the whole community. 

A second important function of 
Federal Council is to organize visits 
to Australia of eminent educationists 
from other countries, for the purpose 
of maintaining international fellowship, 
of exchanging ideas on modern 
problems of education, and of holding 
conferences, forums and seminars on 
important educational topics. These 
visits have become a major educational 
event in Australian life, and very 
many teachers, administrators, parents 
and others, not all of them N.E.F. 
members, are stimulated to new 
thought and action by the ideas ex¬ 
pressed and publicized. In 1946 a 
‘mass visit’ of sixteen speakers from ten 
different countries was organized by 
the N.E.F. Federal Council to hold 
conferences session on Education for 
International Understanding. Two 
years later, Carleton Washburne and 
James Hemming lectured throughout 
Australia on Democratic Living in 
Home, School and Society, and in 1951 
Margaret Mead, H. C. Dent and David 


Jordan toured Australia with Charles 
Bull, Australian Federal President, 
the theme of the conference being 
Education in a Changing World. It is 
now proposed to bring to Australia in 
1954 a team of overseas educationists 
to discuss two topics which are felt to 
be basically the province of New 
Education Fellowship thought and 
discussion— A Philosophy of Education 
and The Psychological Bases of Educa¬ 
tion at Every Stage. 

The Federal and State Governments 
of Australia recognize the value of 
this and other N E.F. work by granting 
some financial help, by facilitating the 
organizing of the conferences, and by 
giving leave to many teachers and 
other officers to attend conference 
sessions. The N.E.F. is also invited to 
send representatives to Federal bodies 
such as the Unesco Committee for 
Education, and to give evidence to 
the Royal Commission on Television 
and others. 

The seven Sections and their Groups 
w r ork autonomously according to the 
needs of their particular locality and 
the talents and energies of their 
members. For instance, during the 
past and present year, New South 
Wales has concentrated on three 
‘campaigns’: (1) a critical examination 
of secondary education and a pro¬ 
gramme of suggested reforms; (2) 
creativeness in education, at all stages 
from early childhood to adult life; 
(3) the need for parent education and 
for Governmental and public recogni¬ 
tion of its importance in preventing 
many serious problems in family, 
school and community life. This last 
campaign for parent education has 
been carried on vigorously by other 
N.E.F. committees—notably in Can¬ 
berra (A.C.T.) and in Armidale, 
N.S.W. Interesting experimental 
group-work is being done in this field, 
as pilot projects which may well lead 
to a wide extension of the work. 

Further instances of the variety of 
N.E.F. work in the different Sections: 
South Australian Section has had en¬ 
couraging success in introducing the 
method of Individual Progression into 
infant and primary schools. Also S.A. 
has, like N.S.W., organized successful 
groups for the purpose of welcoming 
New Australians (migrants) and under¬ 
standing their special needs. In 
February last, S.A. ran an unforget¬ 
table week-end Conference in the hills 
at Belair, where twenty-five ‘old 
Australians’ entertained as guests 
twenty-five ‘new Australians’, pro¬ 
viding lectures and discussions on 
Australian art, music, natural history 
and early history. A typical guest- 
reaction to this week-end was this 

135 


sentence from a letter: ‘Let me thank 
you once more for the most wonderful 
week-end I spent since I have been 
in Australia.' 

Victorian Section has enjoyed work¬ 
ing on a very rewarding long-term 
project of co-operating with the Kees 
Boeke International Exhibition. Work¬ 
groups were formed, schools were 
visited, a public exhibition entitled 
Living and Learning in Victoria was 
held last March; pamphlets were 
published and distributed explaining 
the exhibition and the principles of 
N.E.F., and the exhibits of work were 
finally shipped to Holland. Hobart 
Group has worked through study- 
groups to prepare and widely publicize 
valuable reports on such topics as 
Social Studies in Schools, Religious 
Instruction in Schools, the Effect on 
the Community of the 16-year Leaving 
Age, and the Impact of Radio and 
Television on the Child. Launceston 
Group has roused much interest in the 
N.E.F. Book Club by conducting dis¬ 
cussion groups on recent Club books. 
Western Australia has paid special 
attention to the recruitment of 
teachers; and this Section, like South 
Australia, has been outstandingly 
successful in organizing conferences, 
panel discussions and seminars, among 
teachers and other officers of the 
Education Department. 

Queensland Section has for some 
time held a series of widely varying 
discussions, ranging over the whole 
field of education. Now it is feeling 
that it might do better to adopt a 
single project at a time, involving 
keen group-study and leading to some 
definite action. Here is what Professor 
T. K. Ewer, President of Queensland 
Section, says about the part the N.E.F. 
might well play in that community: 

‘The Executive Committee hopes 
gradually to interest senior officials 
of the Department of Public Instruc¬ 
tion, in the Fellowship’s work. There 
is no room for complacency over the 
present state of education at primary, 
secondary or University level in 
Queensland. The raising of the school 
entry age to six years does not appear 
to me to be a serious matter, but I 
feel more concern over the relatively 
short period of training at the Teachers' 
Training College, and the continuing 
late age of starting secondary school¬ 
ing. The need for a more liberal and 
flexible syllabus leading to a leaving 
certificate, instead of the present 
Senior Examination, allied to the 
institution of a special Matriculation 
Examination at the end of another 
year for the minority who go on to the 
University, are reforms which are be¬ 
coming widely accepted as necessary. 




THE NEW ERA 


136 

As a direct result of the Chichester 
International Conference of 1961, a 
ten-days’ N.E.F. Summer School in 
Creative Activity was held last 
January at Frensham, Mittagong, 
N.S.W., attracting a membership of 
110 men and women (aged from 18 to 
70) from all N.E.F. Sections except 
Western Australia. Five groups 
worked with great delight and en¬ 
riching new experience under five 
widely differing but equally inspiring 
leaders in Painting, Modelling, Music 
and Drama. The school was such a 
happy experience for all concerned, 
anti drew its members so harmoniously 
into the work and philosophy of the 
N.E.F., that another such school is 
now being planned for next January, 
at Canberra, the Australian capital 
city. 

All Australian Sections and Branches 
join in producing their N.E.F. journal 
New Horizons, which is sent to 
members as an important right of 
mcmt>ership, and which also circulates 
among many more of the general 
Australian public than the N.E.F. 
This journal, together with The New 
Era and N.E.F. Book Club publica¬ 
tions, help to stir up continuous dis¬ 
cussion among workers in education, 
and to focus continual attention on 
the importance of the psychological 
bases of education and the need for a 
well-discussed philosophy of education. 

Clarice MacNamarra, 
Federal Representative 

BELGIUM 

FLEMISH SECTION 

We are glad to be able to say that, 
thanks to the activities of recent 
years, a great interest has arisen in 
our country in the renewal of instruc¬ 
tion and education. The fact that ten 
members put themselves down for the 
International Conference at Askov as 
soon as they were told it was to take 
place is perhaps a symptom of this 
interest. 

We are making a couple of peda¬ 
gogical films and we continue to co¬ 
operate with the Dutch Section in 
the publication of Vernieuwing ; the 
number of subscribers to this magazine 
has increased. 

All the same, the financial difficulties 
of the Flemish Section have made it 
impossible for us to develop several 
activities which we still consider 
would be very useful if we could go 
ahead with them. For example, we 
have had to stop our week-end 
meetings for discussing the techniques 
of the New Education. 

Maria Wens, 

General Secretary 

FRENCH-SPEAKING SECTION 

September-December 1952: Rc-organiza- 


BROWNS’ NEW SERIES 
Y.A. READERS 

Series A. For Five-Year-Olds: 

Two Little Pigs Henny Penny 

Hop O' My Thumb Dick Whittington 

Series B. For Six-Year-Olds: 

Beauty and the Beast Puss in Boots 
The Sleeping Beauty 
Snow White and Rose Red 

Series C. For Seven-Ycar-Olds: 

Cinderella Jack and the Beanstalk 
The Prince and his Six Friends 
Robinson Crusoe 

PRICE 7±d. EACH BOOK 

Please write for illustrated pamphlet 

A. BROWN & SONS, LTD. 

32 Brooke St., Ilolborn, London, E.C.1 


tion of the office; meeting of the 
Executive Committee; the continua¬ 
tion of our series of discussions on 
creative activities of the child and of 
the adolescent: October—M. R. Van- 
develde on Art in Adolescence ; Novem¬ 
ber—Dr. Beernaert on The Factor of 
Emotional Balance in Creative 
Activities. 

J anuary-M ay 1953: 

I. General organization and inter¬ 
national relations (M. Biscompte). 

(i) Study-groups —Educational Rela¬ 
tionships between Pupils and between 
Teachers—National and International. 

(а) Three-day conferences 
(Brussels, Li£ge and Mons). 

(б) Performances by two kinds of 
teachers: La Chanterie de 
Bruxelles and Les Comediens 
Normaliens 1 (Brussels, Liege 
and Mons). 

(c) Five study-group meetings 
on: Group-work in pre-school, 
primary school, junior secon¬ 
dary school, technical school 
and training college (Brussels). 

(ii) Publications —a French trans¬ 
lation of the New Education Fellow¬ 
ship Diary (this appeared in March 
instead of, as had been hoped, at the 
end of 1952 owing to publication 
difficulties). 

(iii) Preparations for the Askov Con¬ 
ference. 

(a) Negotiations with ’Voyages 
Scolaires Belgo-Luxembourg- 
eois’ with a view to arranging 


l See The Sew Era, Vol. 28, No. 3, March 1947, 

page 57. 


July- Aug. 1953 

group travel for the Flemish- 
and French-speaking Sections. 

(6) Translation and circulation of 
the Conference programme. 

(c) Consideration of the subjects 
on the Agenda of the meeting 
of Section Representatives 
(Copenhagen) and of the Inter¬ 
national Council Meeting 
(Askov). including a study of 
the documentation. 

(d) Regular communication with 
the Guiding Committee of 
the N.E.F. 

(e) Communication with the 
Flemish, Swiss and French 
Sections of the N.E.F. and 
contacts with the German 
Section. 

(/) Communication with the Bel¬ 
gian Ministry of Public In¬ 
struction. 

(g) Monthly meetings of the mem¬ 
bers of the Secretariat. 

II. International Exchanges (Madame 

Em£lie Van Steenhuysc). 

(i) Study of the organization of the 
Dutch International Plan. 

(ii) Propaganda articles in our 
monthly publication ( Revue Pedagogi- 
que) and a Proposal to collaborate 
with the twenty-eight National Sec¬ 
tions of the N.E.F., with eighteen 
associations of Belgian teachers, with 
the Ministry of Public Instruction, 
with the Centre Internationale P£da- 
gogique at Sevres, with the Inter¬ 
national Bureau of Education at 
Geneva, with the International Centre 
for Moral Rearmament at Caux, with 
the American Information Service at 
Brussels, with the Bureau dcs Echanges 
Scolaires et Culturels at Berne, with 
the South-West Essen County Tech¬ 
nical School, etc. 

First Results — Exchanges of docu¬ 
ments and of persons, either promised 
or actually taking place in association 
with La Jeunesse Beige d I'Etranger. 2 

(a) Ecole de La Gleize (Belgium) 
with a Dutch school. 

(b) Ecole Moyenne de Laeken 
(Belgium) is looking for ex¬ 
changes with the United King¬ 
dom, France, Denmark, 
Holland, India, Ireland, 
Rhodesia. 

(c) Ecole Professionelle, M. 
Renard (Belgium) is seeking 
to exchange work with schools 
in Switzerland, Denmark, 
India, Egypt. 

(d) Correspondents are wanted by 
schools in Oslo (Norway), 
Berne and St. Gall (Switzer¬ 
land) and Amsterdam. 

III. Book Club (M. R. Devaux). 

(i) Publicity in our monthly publica¬ 
tion {Revue Pidagogique ) for the 
publications of the New Education 


* Sec The Sew Era, M ir ch 1947, page 66. 





July-Aug. 1953 

Book Club and an assessment of 
thirty-eight books in French on topics 
of education and general culture. 

(ii) An exhibition of books that have 
a bearing on the subjects treated in 
our study-circles and day conferences 
so that members can see and examine 
the books which we are recommending 
to them. 

(iii) The compilation of a catalogue 
of children’s books which has been 
sent to all our members. 

IV. Editorial (M. Bernard). 

Our chronicle has increased from 
six pages to twelve. Excellent work 
has been done on it and we are ex¬ 
pecting a great deal from the recent 
introduction of a page of practical 
didactical material in each number. 

V. Administration (Mile. Vuda). 

A great deal of work has been done: 
the collection of material for exhibi¬ 
tions, general archives, office equip¬ 
ment, duplication, the sending out of 
reviews, membership cards, etc. The 
excellently-kept files are a strong 
factor in the efficiency of the office. 

VI. Finance (M. Frickx). 

A certain number of our members 
have not yet renewed their subscrip¬ 
tions in spite of several reminders. 
Our open meetings have not really 
been attended by a sufficiently large 
number of people (bad w r eather, too 
many educational activities in the 
country which have to share the same 
potential audience and strike move¬ 
ments among teachers in certain 
centres in the country). Furthermore, 
our activities in Liege and Mons are 
rather costly and as a result of this 
our finances are in less good trim than 
they were last year. We are hoping 
to re-establish our budget through a 
slight profit which we expect on the 
sale of the Diary of the New Education 
Fellowship, 1920-52, and also by 
obtaining an adequate subsidy from 
the Ministry of Public Instruction. 
In any case, the membership fee will 
have to be raised next year. 

H. Biscompte, 

General Secretary 

ENGLAND 

It may be of interest to record a 
change in organization which has 
become effective during the past few 
years. Whereas in the 1940’s the 
Executive Committee of the E.N.E.F. 
was mainly responsible for the affairs 
of the Section, it is now the Education 
Committee that gives direction to the 
Section’s work. Both committees are 
appointed by the annually elected 
Council, which is the body responsible 
for the policy and ultimate control of 
the E.N.E.F. Since education is the 
main concern of the Fellowship, this 
may be considered an appropriate 
and significant change. 


INTERNATIONAL NOTES AND NEWS 

Much of the activity of the Section 
during the past eighteen months has 
already been referred to in The New 
Era. The February number contained 
the Secretary's Report for 1952. The 
Section’s concern with standards in 
education is reflected in the May and 
July numbers. Energies have also 
been directed towards publicising the 
Askov Conference — and it is pleasant 
to know that about sixty members 
from England will be attending it — 
and towards an autumn conference in 
the south-west on the education of 
attitudes, and a Christmas conference 
on The Development of Loyalties. 

The work of the newly-formed 
Home and School Committee has been 
strongly supported by the Education 
Committee, and in this field progress 
has been made in attracting affiliations 
from a number of Parent-Teacher 
Associations, a new panel of speakers 
has been formed, and the Committee 
is now able to advise on films suitable 
for showing at P.T.A. meetings. It 
has also been decided to send a News¬ 
letter once a term to affiliated 
P.T.A’s. This will give, in addition to 
news of what the Fellowship is doing 
to foster parent-teacher co-operation, 
the background material in simple 
form appropriate to an informed dis¬ 
cussion of some of the controversial 
educational topics of the moment. 
The topic chosen for the first issue is 
difficulties in reading and arithmetic. 
Mr. James Hemming is to write the 
background note. 

The Section’s interest in the inter¬ 
national work of the Fellowship has 
been well maintained, as witnessed 
by the participation of English mem¬ 
bers in European conferences, and the 
Secretary’s lecture tour in Germany 
early this year. 

J. B. Annand, 

Secretary 

GERMANY 

The German Section has at present 
380 individual members, about 65 per 
cent, of them being teachers in various 
types of school. The other 35 per cent, 
includes parents, kindergarten teachers, 
youth leaders, psychologists, instruc¬ 
tors, professors and school admini¬ 
strators. Furthermore, there are 13 
institutions and organizations which 
are corporately associated with the 
German Section. In this group special 
attention must be given to the Arbeit- 
skreiskN eue Erziehung in Berlin, which 
has 500 members and acts as a parent- 
teacher organization, making import¬ 
ant contributions to the education of 
adolescents. Thus, a total of nearly 
1,000 persons are involved in the 
activity of the German Section. 

Approximately 12 members of the 
German Section are leading persons in 


137 

official or administrative positions. In 
this way it is possible to keep the 
governments of the German Lander 
in touch with the activities of the 
N.E.F. 

During the past year the German 
Section has been able to make remark¬ 
able progress. The Berlin, Frankfurt, 
Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Treysa, 
Weilburg and W iesbaden groups, which 
were founded in 1951, have now con¬ 
solidated their organization and pro¬ 
ceeded to the solution of practical 
problems. At Dortmund and Jugen- 
heim new groups have been organized. 

The culmination of the Section’s 
activity was the Summer Conference 
at W r eilburg (August 10th-19th, 1952). 
The subject of the Conference, Mit- 
menschliche Erziehung (Human Rela¬ 
tions in Education) has become the 
common topic for group activity all 
over the Section. 

The Stuttgart group organized in 
October 1952 a regional conference 
which attracted many participants. 

The German version of the N.E.F. 
Diary was printed in 5,000 copies. It 
makes it possible to give publicity to 
the activities of the N.E.F. and to 
engage new members. 

Between members of the German 
Section and those of other Sections 
an increasing exchange of ideas has 
been established and this is streng¬ 
thened by lecture trips and participa¬ 
tion in N.E.F. conferences in other 
countries. 

Bruno W. Karlsson, 
Secretary 

HOLLAND 

The membership of the Section is 
about 600 and falls into the following 
groups: Educational Organizations, 5; 
Schools, 50; University Professors, 3; 
Teachers in Secondary Modern and 
Grammar Schools, 175; Teachers in 
Junior Schools, 175; Teachers in 
Schools of Domestic Science, 25; 
Teachers in Infant Schools, 75; Non¬ 
professional members (parents, etc.), 
92. 

The Section is divided into the 
following working-groups: 

(1) Work-group ‘International Plan' 
has tried since June 1951 to promote 
international understanding through 
an exchange of all kinds of school-work 
(drawings, paintings, essays). Con¬ 
cluding that through this and similar 
exchange schemes international under¬ 
standing and international-mindedness 
is strengthened in schools that are 
already ‘internationally-minded’ rather 
than awakened in the ordinary ones, 
the secretary of the work-group 
developed a quite new feature: To 
awaken international-mindedness cv cn 
in the most ordinary schools the work¬ 
group will publish selected lists of 







THE NEW ERA 


138 

didactic materials giving information 
on children's life in other countries. 
The lists will contain the following 
items : 

(а) recommended fiction (for chil¬ 
dren only); 

(б) recommended non-fiction (for 
children or teachers or both); 

(c) recommended audio-visual aids; 

(d) collections in ethnological 
museums; 

(e) out-of-date fiction and non¬ 
fiction. 

They are being composed in collabora¬ 
tion with children's libraries, museums, 
etc. Lists on life in Indonesia and 
Eskimo-life are being prepared and are 
to tie published early in September. 
A small pilot-project about children’s 
life in Africa is being carried on from 
May until the beginning of the summer 
holidays by three infant teachers. 

The aim of the new feature is that 
contact between children and con¬ 
sequently an exchange of work should 
be strengthened through a better 
knowledge of children’s life elsewhere, 
based on items (a) to ( d) above. 

(2) Parent-Education. No report. 

(3) Art-Education (membership 1951, 
120; 1953, 160). 

This group organizes in close co¬ 
operation with the Art Centre 
'Werkschuit’ 1 in Amsterdam: 

(a) Art classes for children and 
adults; 

(b) Lectures by experts in Art 
education and psychologists; 

(c) Meetings with a thoroughly 
practical character; 

(d) Exhibitions of children’s Art 
work. 

The third impression of the Guide to 
the Exhibition organized in December 
1951 has just appeared. Another ex¬ 
hibition is to be held in the Municipal 
Museum for Modem Art in Amsterdam 
December 1953. 

The 100th issue of the Section’s 
magazine Vernieuwing appeared under 
the responsibility of this work-group. 

In carrying out a project on Man 
and his Work the group tried to in¬ 
vestigate: (a) the ability of adolescents 
to express themselves through visual 
art; (b) to what extent art education 
already forms an integrating part of 
Infant and Junior Education. 

From September onwards the group 
will publish a Bulletin of its own in 
co-operation with the Art Centre 
'Werkschuit'. 

(4) Education in Infant Schools 
(membership 1951, 54; 1953, 79 — 39 
of them members of the Dutch 
Section 2 ). 

1951-52 — Lectures on Linking the 

Infant and Junior School; Play- 

• Sec The Neu- Era , December 1950: * *. . . And 
Here in Holland we Built a Ship’. 

* Members of groups are not always members 
of the Section. 


therapy; Expression work in the 
Infant School. 

1952-63— I-ecturcs on School Meals; 
the Making of Musical Instruments; 
Creative Dramatics. 

Course in Creative Dramatics for 
Infant school teachers. 

The group publishes a Bulletin of its 
own. 

(5) Secondary School Problems in 
General (no individual members — ex¬ 
clusively school members. 1951, 21 
schools; 1953, 28 schools). 

1952— Discussion meetings based on 
the Minister’s Memorandum on Ex¬ 
periments in progressive schools. 
Result time-table for a first form 
w r as drawm up and sent to the 
Minister of Education. 

1953— Discussion meetings based on a 
number of experiments in Dutch 
Secondary schools. 

Findings of the meetings are being 
published in all professional journals. 

(6) Modern Languages. No report. 
Owing to the illness of the secretary 
the work of this group stagnated 
seriously. In 1952 the central theme 
was: What do Secondary school (and 
Grammar school) pupils read ? An 
enquiry for both lower and higher 
forms was planned. The work should 
have been carried on in co-operation 
with Group 2 and with Children’s 
Libraries. 

(7) Mathematics (membership 1951, 
90; 1953, 122). 

Working programme—Curriculum in 
Mathematics for H.B.S. (between 
Secondary Modern and Grammar 
school — curriculum with a scientific 
bias) and Grammar schools. Also the 
first teaching of Mathematics in 
Secondary schools. 

The work-group organized, in co¬ 
operation with groups (5), (6) and (8) 
two weekends during this period: 

(a) Autumn 1951 on special Secon¬ 
dary school problems. 

Lectures: 

Kees Boeke — Role of the children 
in the school organization. 

W. H. Brouwer — Selection prob¬ 
lems. 

Elisabeth Rotten, W. de Coster — 
T eacher-education. 

(b) Autumn 1952 on the teaching of 
Science in Secondary schools. 
Lectures: 

Mathematics — Mrs. Ehrcnfest, 
Leiden. 

Astronomy — Professor Dr. M. 

Minnaert, Utrecht University. 
General Science— Dr. J. Ktoning, 
Principal of Montessori- 
Lyseum, The Hague. 
Mechanics — Professor Dr. H. 
Freudcnthal, Utrech Univer¬ 
sity. 

Summary: 

Mrs. Ehrenfest: Geometry is the 
study of spatial properties of Nature. 


July-Aug. 1953 

Spatial intuition and activity arc, 
whatever the student's age, essential 
if the study of geometry is to be 
made interesting and alluring. 
Professor Minnaert: Astronomy is of 
inestimable value for the mental 
development of Secondary school 
students. Secondary school curricula 
have not kept abreast with the 
development of Astronomy and 
must be changed in such a way that 
at least as much (if not twice as 
much) time is given to astrophysics 
and the structure of the universe as 
to spherical astronomy and the solar 
system. 

Dr. J. Koning: General Science 
should be taught in the lower forms 
of all kinds of Dutch Secondary 
schools without any exception. 
Professor Ereudenthal: Mechanics — 
it is w-rong to teach mechanics 
according to the deductive method. 
The choice of topics to be taught in 
mechanics should not be dependent 
on the tools offered by school 
mathematics but on what is physic¬ 
ally important and didactically 
possible. 

At the end of the Easter Conference 
of the W.V.O. in April 1953 the group 
organized, in close co-operation with 
the Physics Group, a weekend con¬ 
ference where Dr. W. Wagcnschein 
(Vice-Principal of one of the four ex¬ 
perimental Secondary schools in 
Hessen, Germany) lectured on Spon¬ 
taneity in the teaching and learning of 
Mathematics and Physics. During this 
weekend Dr. Wagcnschein gave a 
demonstration lesson with Dutch 
pupils aged 14-18 from schools which 
are members of Group 5. The Mathe¬ 
matics and Physics groups together 
organized, with other organizations, a 
meeting of Teachers of Mathematics 
and Physics, where Dr. Wagcnschein 
also lectured. 

The 103rd issue of Vernieuwing ap¬ 
peared under the responsibility of this 
work-group. It is the eldest of the 
active groups of the W.V.O. Since 
December 1952 it has had a Bulletin 
of its own. 

(8) Physics (not set up until Decem¬ 
ber 1950. The group numbered 50 
members at the end of 1951; 70 at the 
end of 1952). 

Close co-operation with other pro¬ 
fessional organizations of teachers in 
Science and W.V.O. — groups (5) and 

< 7) ' 

In the course of 1951 ten meetings 
were organized; main theme — pupils’ 
practical work in Physics in progressive 
and ordinary schools. 

From January 1952 to April 1953, 
eight meetings and one w-eekend (see 
report of group (7) ) were held; main 
theme — Curriculum in Physics for 
fifth and sixth forms. The most 
important lecture was given by Mr. 



July-Aug. 1953 

A. J. S. van Dam, General Inspector 
for Grammar Schools, suggesting the 
modification of the matriculation- 
programme in such a way that 
Atomphysics should be a part of 
matriculation papers in future. Dr. 
J. A. Smit, Lecturer in Physics at 
Utrecht University, gave two lectures 
on what items of Atomphysics should 
be taught in fifth and sixth forms. 
Under the leadership of Mr. van Dam, 
members of this group and other 
science teachers visited English Secon¬ 
dary schools in July 1952. 

Publication in Vernieuwing 1 and all 
professional journals. 

As Dr. W. Wagenschein (see report 
of group (7) ) lectured about the 
Curriculum of Mathematics and Physics 
in Fifth and Sixth Forms and on How 
to Teach what should be Taught, his 
visit to the Section was of most interest 
to this group. 

The Work-group for Art Education, 
residing in the Art Centre ‘Werkschuit’ 
in Amsterdam, works closely with 
the ‘Co-operation Printing-Press in 
Schools’. It numbers about 100 
members, 80 of which are printing 
schools. The character of the Co¬ 
operation is mainly an international 
one. It works entirely in line with 
‘Co-operation de l’Education lai'que’ 
(C. Freinet) whose conferences are 
frequented by Dutch printers. It 
publishes a Bulletin of its own, Contact, 
in collaboration with Volksopvoeding, 
the Group of Flemish printers. 

Activities organized by the Central 
Work-group of the W.V.O.: 

(1) July 22nd to 26th, 1952—Sum¬ 
mer Conference. Theme: Education in 
the Service of Peace. Lectures by the 
Chairman, Kees Boeke. The meaning 
of the theme was outlined by experts 
in Infant, Junior and Senior education. 
There was a lecture on how to practise 
it in art-education, Youth movement 
and home life. 

(2) November 22nd, 1952—Lecture 
by Dr. Elisabeth Rotten—Humanity, 
Aims and Problems of Mankind. 

(3) To prepare for the N.E.F. 
Conference in Askov, 1953, an Easter 
Conference was held from April 8th to 
10th. Theme: Spontaneity and 
Creativity as factors in child-education. 
Chairman—Dr. J. Koning, Principal of 
Montessori-Lyceum, The Hague. Lec¬ 
tures : Introductory talk— Spontaneity 
and Creativity by Miss W. Bladergroen 
(Lecturer in Child-Education, Gronin¬ 
gen University). Conclusions: Child 
development means a continuous 
stream of spontaneous creativity (the 


i Vernieuuing, the official organ of the Section, 
is published by Nederlandse Daltonvereniging, 
Nederlandse Montessorivereniging, Vereniging 
voor Vernieuwing van Opvoeding en Onderwijs 
(Flandern), Volksopvoeding, Werkgemeenschap 
voor Vernieuwing van Opvoeding en Onderwijs 
(nederland). 


INTERNATIONAL NOTES AND NEWS 

results of which are new for the child 
but need not be so for the community) 
and imitation. Educationists should 
be aware of this. The child should be 
given, however, the opportunity to 
choose from a rich environment. 
Every kind of Art-education should be 
geared to the child’s mental and 
emotional level. 

J. H. Ringrose: Spontaneity and 
Intellectual Education. Conclusions: 
Loneliness main characteristic of 
modern man. Intellectual education, 
offering problems which arouse the 
child’s interest, aims at bridging the 
gap between the child—lonely in its 
own way—and the world it has to live 
in. 

Dr. M. Wagenschein: Creative In¬ 
telligence. Conclusions: Learning to 
work is more than fact-finding. We 
have to face a suffocation of intelli¬ 
gence not only in German but in all 
Western European schools. We have to 
face and solve it like good Europeans. 
‘Activity’, a fully worn-out word 
(bustle, liveliness) needs two ad¬ 
ditional epithets: Eindringlichkeit and 
Instandigkeit, in order to enable it to 
be used on the same level as spontaneity 
and creativity. Dr. Wagenschein dealt 
extensively with these expressions, 
which are essential conditions for 
creative intelligence, in—the lesson, 
the enrichment of language through 
science-teaching, the teaching period 
as a whole, and the relationship 
between school subjects. 

Dr. N. A. Bruining: Moral Education. 
Conclusions: Everybody should try to 
achieve fully what is potentially 
within him. We should try to become 
ourselves and help the child to find its 
own destiny. 

The lectures are published ex¬ 
tensively in the 104th issue of 
Vernieuwing, except those given by 
Miss W. Dol (Social Education) and 
Mr. B. Veldhuis (Printing-Press), 

A summary of the Conference was 
given by Professor Dr. A. D. de Groot, 
Psychologist at Amsterdam University. 

Although the work in the work¬ 
groups is nearly always stimulated by 
a single person, I have not mentioned 
their names because Section work 
should be considered as one indivisible 
whole. I wish to make one exception, 
however, and mention the name of the 
Editorial Secretary of Vernieuwing, 
Mrs. M. M. Sinit-Miessen. She is a 
secretary of one of the work-groups 
herself and is consequently burdened 
with a lot of group organization, but 
since September 1951 she has given 
nearly all her spare time to the 
magazine in order to make it, as 
regards contents and appearance, 
one of the most important educational 
magazines of our country. 

In spite of the many genuine activi¬ 
ties reported above and lively and 


139 

enthusiastic as the work-groups arc, I 
am not sure that they constitute a 
well-integrated Section of the N.E.F. 
We are tending to find that the more 
active the work-groups, the more they 
tend to work independently of the 
Section. I even foresee the possibility 
of each work-group developing into a 
progressive organization, actively con¬ 
cerned in working out didactic prob¬ 
lems and improving school techniques, 
and yet losing sight of many important 
aspects of the N.E.F.'s activities and 
ways of thinking. An example of this 
may be seen in the fact that we pub¬ 
lished the whole of the Mental Health 
Agenda and the material prepared for 
the Unesco Conference on Mental 
Health and published in The New Era 
in December 1952, but I have had a 
very small number of reactions to this 
programme, in spite of my own strong 
feeling that the ideas contained in it 
are really more important for the well¬ 
being of children in school than any 
possible reform of teaching methods, 
however valuable. The work-groups 
are, I think, significant of the high 
importance that some Dutch teachers 
place on modernizing curricula and 
teaching methods. Very little help is 
given them in these matters during 
teacher-training and it is noteworthy 
that they are willing to spend their 
leisure time in threshing out their 
problems for themselves in work¬ 
groups. I feel this lack of scientific 
teacher-training must be a brake on 
the New Education in many National 
Sections, and I should like to suggest 
a special number of The New Era to 
deal with the correlation between 
teacher-training and effective advance 
in the New Education. 

S. Freudenthal-Lutter, 
International Correspondent, 
Holland 

INDIA 

NEW DELHI 

The Child Guidance Council and 
the Child Guidance Clinic here have 
been arranging a series of lectures for 
the benefit of parents and teachers 
on the question of child-training. Our 
members have been invited by the 
local schools to give talks to the 
teachers of different institutions on 
such subjects as Difficult Children; 
Why Children Misbehave; Stealing; 
Truancy; Intelligence Testing. For¬ 
merly we arranged these lectures in 
public places such as Y.M.C.A., but 
the new procedure of organizing 
lectures in the schools is being ap¬ 
preciated very much, so much so that 
the schools are beginning to ask for 
our help. 

These lectures and the discussions 
that follow are opening eyes to the 








THE NEW ERA 


140 

question of backward and problem 
children found in each school, so much 
so that the Educational Authorities, 
like the Director of Education, are 
taking an interest in the problems 
which have come to the surface. They 
are already alive to the necessity for 
taking some steps in the near future 
for helping such children. 

The Child Guidance Clinic is re¬ 
ceiving a larger number of visitors, so 
we are giving suggestions and advice 
to many more parents than the 
number of problem children attending 
the Clinic for treatment. We are also 
glad to say that the newly-formed 
Psychological Association with Pro¬ 
fessor Humayun Kabir as its President, 
is giving a good lead to the public in 
the discussion of educational problems 
in the light of new psychology and 
psycho-analysis. 

U. S. Gheba, 

Secretary 

BOMBAY 

The New Education Fellowship’s 
Bombay Section has 108 members on 
its roll, many of them eminent 
educationists, teachers and others 
interested in education. 

The relation of our organization 
with the National Commission of 
Unesco in India is very cordial. The 
Secretary of our organization was 
asked to become a member of the 
Commission. The New Education 
Fellowship was invited to attend as an 
observer the Seminar of the Gandhian 
Technique for World Peace, held in 
Delhi. Further, the Government of 
India allowed me to attend the I’nesco 
Regional Conference on Free and 
Compulsory Education in South Asia 
and the Pacific which was held in 
Bombay from December 12th to 23rd, 
1952. 

Our activities this year have been 
numerous and very successful and we 
have been sending regular reports of 
these to our London Headquarters. 
The most recent activity was that of 
organizing a symposium on Education 
in America, which was held on Friday, 
April 17th, 1953. Teachers who had 
been to U.S.A. under the F'ulbright 
Exchange of Teachers Scheme spoke 
about their experiences in the field of 
education in I’.S.A. We are glad to 
report that it was well attended. 

K. C. Vyas, 

Joint Secretary 

.JOHANNESBURG 

The Johannesburg Group of the New 
Education Fellowship was founded 
after an International Conference of 
of the N.E.F. in South Africa in 1934. 
At present it has a membership of 
approximately one hundred, composed 


of teachers, lecturers at the Johannes¬ 
burg Teachers’ Training College, 
parents and people interested in 
education. 

The activities of the Group have 
largely been in the direction of holding 
general meetings and conducting 
courses for teachers and others on 
educational subjects. Until recently 
we received financial support from the 
Transvaal Education Department in 
connection with the courses we held, 
but latterly, as a result of a new 
directive from the Department, ac¬ 
tivities must l>e arranged through a 
Training College if they are to receive 
any official support, financial or 
otherwise. Fortunately our relations 
with the Johannesburg Teachers’ 
Training College are good, and we 
have had ready co-operation from 
them. Latterly, in addition, we have 
arranged lecture tours for outstanding 
overseas educationists or visitors, but 
here again we have received no 
financial support from the Transvaal, 
although we have enjoyed the co¬ 
operation of the Inspectorate. We 
have no relations with the National 
Commission for Unesco, which is not 
particularly active in this country. 

Our activities over the past year 
have been: 

1. The organizing of an exhibition, 
coupled with lectures, film shows 
and d( monstrations, to bring home 
to the public the significance of 
education, and to underline some of 
the important issues. 

2. A lecture tour by James Hemming. 

3. A lecture tour by Sir Fmgen 
Millington-Drake. 

4. A symposium on What type of 
school would you choose for your 
child. 

It has become clear that in this 
country there is a vast potential 
reserve of people who would be in¬ 
terested in the work of the N.E.F. 
The problem arises, how to mobilize 
this potential. People here do not 
seem Association-conscious and it has 
always been hard to build up a mem¬ 
bership. (T^iis is not peculiar to the 
N.E.F.). We do, however, get general 
support for any venture which has a 
direct value to the people interested 
in the particular project, although 
there is still the difficulty of getting 
them to join afterwards and of con¬ 
tinuing with the work. 

If the N.E.F. is to be built up in 
South Africa, it appears that the course 
to follow is to aim at a national or 
international conference. Such a con¬ 
ference is long overdue here. It is 
necessary to give impetus to the aim 
of the Fellowship — the exchange and 
practice of ideas in education that 
advance a world civilization. 

The soil for such a Conference must 
be carefully prepared—interest aroused 


July-Aug. 1953 

and points of contact developed. This 
is best done, we feel, by individual 
lecture tours by prominent N.E.F. 
men. The value of James 1 lemming’s 
visit here is immeasurable—a new 
group has been formed with the possi¬ 
bility of others, and a number of 
enthusiastic people have been drawn 
into the movement. This new interest 
must be maintained and developed, 
which, we feel, can only be done on the 
lines indicated, and must be done 
quickly. 

D. M. Luckin, 
Secretary 

NEW ZEAI.AND 

During the year five of the branches 
of the New Zealand Section have been 
very active, Dunedin, Nelson, 
Wellington, Feilding and Auckland. 
In most places regular monthly 
meetings have been held to discuss 
educational problems, and overseas 
educationists have on several oc¬ 
casions been welcome speakers at these 
meetings. 

Some of the branches have provided 
speakers to lead discussions on educa¬ 
tion at meetings of various other 
organizations and groups interested 
in recent developments in educational 
practice in New Zealand. 

Although the branches have been 
active, however, the central Section 
organization has not been so, and it is 
several years since a full conference 
of branches has been held. 

G. W. Parkyn, 

Interim Secretary 

NORTHERN IRELAND 

The programme for the session just 
ended included a series of meetings at 
which the central theme was 'What is 
happening in the Schools ?’ It was felt 
that all those in the community inter¬ 
ested in the improvement of the 
quality of education would welcome 
the opportunity of taking part in a 
frank discussion of problems of concern 
to the teacher at present. 

After an introductory meeting, three 
further meetings were held, at each of 
which an aspect of the main theme was 
discussed. These aspects were respect¬ 
ively: 'Is there discipline in the 
schools ?’; ‘Is there too much arith¬ 
metic in the schools ?’; and ‘Do our 
children read ?’ A number of speakers 
drawn from both the educational and 
business worlds were invited to open 
each meeting by stating their opinions 
briefly. The views expressed, often 
conflicting, helped to provoke a lively 
discussion. The success of the pro¬ 
gramme was shown by the large 
attendance at each meeting and by the 


Ill 


July-Aug. 1953 

greatly increased number of subscrip¬ 
tions. 

The Section’s Commission on School 
Record Cards hopes in the near future 
to have printed, for experimental 
purposes, copies of the card they have 
prepared. Another Commission, on 
Handicapped Children, was invited to 
submit to the Advisory Council evi¬ 
dence covering all aspects of the 
problem of providing for such children. 

At the Annual General Meeting, an 
interesting and challenging talk on 
‘International Understanding through 
the Schools’ was given by Miss E. H. 
Maxwell, B.A., Headmistress of Rich¬ 
mond Lodge School. It is hoped to 
pursue this theme during the next 
session. 

The Committee have decided to send 
the Chairman as their representative 
at Denmark this summer. 

D. F. McNeill, 
Secretary 

NORWAY 

The principal work done by our 
Section in the last two years has been 
in organizing lectures and discussions 
on the following topics: 

The Free and the JJnfree Child: A. S. 
Neill. 

Three lectures on Freedom in Educa¬ 
tion and misconceptions about Free¬ 
dom in Education: 

1. Home Education: Dr. Med. Alex 
Brinchmann. 

2. Discipline in School: School In¬ 
spector Dr. B. Ribsskog. 

3. My Children and other people’s 
School Psychologist, Magister Borger 
Haa vardsholm. 

Homework done in School: Rektor 
Ullmann. 

In what respects should children regard 
us, grown-up people, as authorities ? 
Ester Hermanson. 

Human Relations in School in England: 
J. B. Annand, International Secre¬ 
tary, N.E.F. 

What do we think of schools to-day ? 
Discussion introduced by a mother 
of small children (Mrs. Drage), a 
mother of children in secondary 
schools (Mrs. Gedde-Dahl) and a 
mother and teacher (Mrs. Riise). 
Meeting organized in co-operation 
with the Norwegian Association for the 
United Nations: 

(a) Girls from a 6th grade gave a 
performance: Human Rights in 
under-developed countries. 

(b) Discussion concerning Education 
and International Understanding, 
introduced by Rektor Haakon 
Holmboe and Mr. Gunnar 
Jenshus, Headmaster of a Folk- 
skole. 

Meeting organized by the Oslo Asso¬ 
ciation for Mental Hygiene, the 


INTERNATIONAL NOTES AND NEWS 

Norwegian Association of Nursery 
School Teachers, the Norwegian Asso¬ 
ciation for Child Psychiatry and Child 
Guidance and the Norwegian Section 
of the N.E.F. At this meeting the 
Norwegian Section of the International 
Organization for the Education of Pre- 
School Children was founded. School 
Inspector Mrs. Anne Marie Norvig 
(Copenhagen) gave a lecture: Our 
Relations with Children, and Magister 
Cato Hambro, Secretary of the Oslo 
Association for Mental Hygiene, gave 
one on Why don't we understand young 
people ? 

Ruth Froyland Nielsen, 
Secretary 

PAKISTAN 

The New Education Fellowship was 
started in Pakistan by Professor B. A. 
Hashmi on the establishment of 
Pakistan in August 1947. The activi¬ 
ties of the N.E.F. are being organized 
every year regularly. Two conferences 
were held, one in January 1949 and 
the other in January 1953. The 
lectures and discussions deal with 
progressive educational ideas, and dis¬ 
tinguished foreign educationists, most¬ 
ly from American and European 
countries, are invited to address the 
meetings. 

An Education Conference was held 
in January 1953 in the Central Train¬ 
ing College, Lahore. The American 
educationists who were serving Paki¬ 
stan institution for one year under 
Fulbright scheme took part in discus¬ 
sions on educational problems in 
Pakistan with the educationists of 
Pakistan. The N.E.F. arranged a tea 
party for the participants of the 
conference. 

A ‘Case History Project’ was carried 
out in May 1952, and again in May 
1953, in which about 150 teachers 
investigated case histories of about 
1,000 children who had shown marked 
success or failure in the school environ¬ 
ment. This project was personally 
supervised by Professor B. A. Hashmi. 

It has been established by the ‘Case 
Flistory Project’ that the personal 
contact of the teacher and the taught 
is a great educative factor and the 
class teaching should be modified in 
such a way that the teachers help the 
individual child in his particular 
difficulties. The membership of the 
N.E.F. is 200. 

Special efforts arc essential to create 
interest among the teachers so that 
they may realize the value of progres¬ 
sive educational ideas. Most teachers, 
educational administrators and parents 
do not yet fully realize that it is their 
duty to be active members of the 
N.E.F. 

ANISUDDIN ANSARI, 

Secretary ‘Ahsan’ 


SCOTLAND 

There arc in the Scottish Section 
seven branches with a total of some 
480 members, exclusive of Glasgow 
where the N.E.F'. is amalgamated with 
the Child Guidance and Parent- 
Teacher Association. Membership of 
the Branches ranges from 32 to 151. 
The members in the non-University 
towns are almost exclusively teachers, 
mostly women. In the University 
towns there is a certain admixture of 
University staff. In Aberdeen the 
membership is probably more mixed 
than elsewhere, with a small but 
noticeable number of non-teacher 
parents. 

During the year there have been 
contacts with Germany, South Africa 
and the U.S.A. The documents from 
Germany were most interesting in that 
they showed a strong spirit in educa¬ 
tion which sought to ensure respect for 
the individual by the State. 

All the branches have cordial rela¬ 
tions with local Education Committees. 
The Aberdeen Branch is given all the 
space it requires in the Weekly Circular 
Letter to all schools, and accommoda¬ 
tion is granted free of charge for all 
meetings, with facilities for making tea. 
Several members of the Education 
Committee are members, and attend 
meetings frequently. In Fife the Edu¬ 
cation Committee pays for the tea 
which is given annually by the N.E.F. 
Branch there for all Probationer 
Teachers. There is very little direct 
contact with the Scottish Education 
Department, though a few Inspectors 
are members of their local N.E.F. 
Branch. 

All Branches had successful sessions 
in 1952. The Fife, Dundee and Perth 
Branches have instituted what looks 
like becoming an annual event—a 
joint meeting of the three Branches, 
held in Perth. The Fife Branch also 
show much enterprise in holding their 
meetings not only in Kirkcaldy but also 
in Leven and Dunfermline once a 
session. This does much to keep in 
touch with members in the more out¬ 
lying districts of Fife. Every summer 
this Branch organizes a bus tour to 
different types of school; this year they 
are to visit certain schools in the 
Border Country. In Glasgow much 
publicity was obtained by the record¬ 
ing, anonymously, of the views of four 
girls and four boys on parents. 
Aberdeen, isolated as it is, has to send 
long distances for speakers to bring 
something new to the city. I his means 
heavy expenditure, but meetings 
addressed by Professor Pilley, Mr. 
David Jordan and Dr. W. Boyd were 
well worth it. Attendance at meetings 
is high and discussion is often keen. 

All the Branches, except Glasgow 
which is in a class by itself, find 






THE NEW ERA 


142 

difficulty in attracting parents and 
young teachers. Fife has, as described 
above, an annual tea to all Probationer 
Teachers, but it would seem that, 
while a number of these pay subscrip¬ 
tions. few are regular attenders at 
meetings. Edinburgh complains of pas¬ 
sivity of the body of members. They 
attend for a talk, a cup of tea and a 
discussion, but there the matter ends. 
This doubtless applies to all Branches 
and the real difficulty remains to get 
our ideas put into practice in more and 
more classrooms. Change comes slowly 
but, on the other hand, there is change, 
and the financial position of the Section 
remains satisfactory. 

W. Christie 
International Secretary 

SWITZERLAND 

The Swiss Section, founded at 
Locarno in 1927, now consists of some 
200 members. These are chiefly 
teachers, but include psychologists, 
doctors and ministers of religion both 
Protestant and Roman Catholic. There 
are also group members such as 
Teachers’ Associations, Training Col¬ 
leges and School Inspectorates. The 
Section was reorganized in 1951 and a 
completely new Guiding Committee 
chosen. 

At the annual meeting at Solothurn 


in 1951, Mr. Jean-Kichard of Zurich 
led a discussion on Children's Draw¬ 
ings, and Mr. Ramseyer of Neuenbcrg, 
Director of Secondary Schools, out¬ 
lined the problem of the teaching of 
mathematics. It was then decided to 
undertake two projects—an inter¬ 
national Seminar on the teaching of 
elementary mathematics and a study- 
week on Children’s Drawings. 

In the Spring of 1952 the above- 
mentioned Seminar on Mathematics 
took place, with Mr. Hardi Fischer, the 
President of the Section, as organizer. 
It was attended by many N.K.F. and 
other delegates from Switzerland and 
abroad and attracted much attention 
in the daily press as well as in technical 
journals. The discussions begun then 
are being continued in the Spring of 
1953. The Conference was patronized 
and financially supported by the 
Bureau International d’Education and 
the National Swiss Commission of 
I’nesco. 

In the Autumn of 1952 Mr. Jean- 
Richard organized in Zurich the inter¬ 
national week on the study of the 
Psychology of Children’s Drawings. 
From the beginning this was intended 
as a forum for discussion open to the 
general public, and not as a conference 
of specialists. Whereas in Geneva 
there were about 50 full-time partici¬ 
pants, in Zurich the daily attendance 
varied between 150 and 250. Both in 


July-A ug. 1953 

Zurich and in Geneva the authorities 
gave their blessing to the meetings and 
provided an official welcome. The 
daily press and technical magazines 
also gave good publicity to the Zurich 
conference. 

At the Annual General Meeting in 
Berne in 1952, the second stage of the 
reorganization began. Encouraged by 
the success of these two projects, a 
further conference was planned on 
'School and State’ (Organizer: Dr. 
Richard Grob), and the wish was 
expressed that the Swiss Section should 
concentrate more on Swiss educational 
problems. Professor Dr. Richard Mcili 
of Berne gave a public lecture on 
educational psychology and the con¬ 
nection between intelligence and per¬ 
formance. 

The Swiss Section is now seeking to 
become directly represented in the 
National Swiss Commission of Unesco. 
In addition, contacts have been made 
with other educational bodies in 
Switzerland, some of which have since 
become group members. Thereby a 
closer bond is being forged between the 
different cultural centres of our federal 
community, and teachers, parents, 
doctors, psychologists, ministers of 
religion and social workers are begin¬ 
ning to be brought together to study 
the principles of the New Education. 

Hardi Fischer, 

Chairman 


Directory of Schools 


BADMINTON SCHOOL 

Westbury-on-T rym 
:: BRISTOL :: 

Junior School 6 to 11 years 

Senior School 12 to 19 years 

The School is situated in large grounds 
and within easy reach of Bristol, so the 
older girls are able to enjoy many of 
the advantages provided by a University 
City. A high standard of scholarship 
is maintained and at the same time an 
interest in creative work is developed 
by the practical and theoretical study of 
Art and Music. There are weekly dis¬ 
cussions on World Affairs and more 
intensive work on Social and Inter¬ 
national problems is done by means of 
voluntary Study Circles. 

Apply to the Secretary. 


DARTINGTON HALL 

TOTNES DEVON 

Headmaster: W. B. CURRY, M.A., B.Sc. 

A co-educational boarding school for 
boys and girls from 7-18 in the centre of 
a 2,000 acre estate engaged in the 
scientific development of rural industries 
The school gives to Arts and Crafts, 
Dance, Drama and Music the special 
attention customary in progressive 
schools, and combines a modern outlook 
which is non-sectarian and inter¬ 
national with a free and informal 
atmosphere. It aims to establish the 
high intellectual and academic stan¬ 
dards of the best traditional schools. 

Fees: £210-£260 per annum. 

Scholarships are sometimes available, 
and further information about these 
may be obtained from the Headmaster. 






















THE NEW ERA 

IN HOME AND SCHOOL 


SOME MODERN ATTITUDES TO THE 
TEACHING OF READING 

M. Brooke Gwynne, Department of Child Development, University of London Institute of Education. 


‘The interplay between our linguistic educa¬ 
tion and our understanding of people deserves 
much more study.’ 

Professor P. E. Vernon 

T here are certain criticisms of modern 
educational theory current at the present 
time that cannot be ignored; some from 
small voices, detracting and uninformed, others 
with more weight, calling for a revaluation of 
commonly accepted principles such as interest, 
activity, play methods as aids to learning. 
Much of this censure, whether it be justified or 
not, could be applied to the teaching of reading 
in primary schools and it is salutory to take note 
of it and to be prepared to meet it. 

There is always a danger of accepting a ready¬ 
made theory without sufficient investigation and 
a greater danger when a system is applied without 
an understanding of the principles. This does 
sometimes happen when harassed teachers adopt 
a method—because it is up to date or because it 
is commended by authority—without having the 
time or inclination to look into its implications. 
Here the carpers and critics have sometimes 
ground for complaint. It is the purpose of this 
article to examine some of the ways used, or 
adapted for use, in teaching reading at the present 
time and to show that they are based on sound 
theory, theory which has evolved from much 
investigation, study and research. 

It is interesting to glance at an old-fashioned 
primer, reprinted in this century but going back 
to early in the last, called, ominously, Reading 
Without Tears. The preface is sanguine: ‘Great 
pains have been taken to render this book 
pleasing to children. To allow them to tread the 
path of knowledge, steps have been cut in the 
steep rock and flowers have been planted by the 
wayside. Pictures are these flowers, careful 
arrangement and exact classification are these 


steps. I hese efforts are not made that children 
may learn to read at an earlier age than at 
present, but that they may learn to read without 
l EARS . . . Tears need not be shed by little 
creatures, ignorant and playful though they may 
be, while learning to read.’ There follows an 
illustrated alphabet, A for apple, N for nut, and 
then a set of two-letter syllables, leading up to 
sentences such as ‘Pug is in his tub. Rub Pug 
on his rug.’ In spite of the flowers and the paths, 
one wonders whether the little creatures, some¬ 
how discredited for being playful and ignorant, 
found the effort rewarding enough to avoid 
tearful episodes. But, beyond our pity and 
amusement, there is some value to-day in ex¬ 
amining the ideas that inspired the book. It 
saw the magnitude of the task of learning to read, 
a task as arduous to-day: the recognition and 
naming of symbols, the association of these 
symbols with sound, the combination of these 
sounds into syllables and words, with anomalies 
of spelling that, in the English language, defy 
system; and, as a final process, welding these 
words into a sentence that shall have meaning. 
The book also recognizes the value of pictures as 
a means of association between things and the 
words that stand for them, not of course in itself 
a new device. Though no one could call the 
reading matter stimulating, it does attempt, 
within a limited and unreal vocabulary, to 
provide a series of sentences with some sense- 
sequence, so that a child might consider himself 
as taking part in the act of reading, though the 
purpose would have seemed obscure. One 
imagines how, once the lesson had been completed, 
hacked out step by step, the child, released as 
arrow from bow, sped away on some really 
important piece of work, like play. Neither he 
nor his teacher expected anything else. He must 
have come to learn with reluctance; come to 
play with eagerness and the full powers of energy; 








THE NEW ERA 


144 

a contrast that has important relevance in 
educational ideas to-day. Then there is the 
matter of system. The system on which the book 
is planned regards the business of learning in a 
rational light; breaking down the problem into 
parts and then tackling the parts one at a time. 
Herein lies one of the biggest differences in 
attack between ancient and modern. 

Psychological studies, linguistic studies, copious 
investigation and experimental research in the 
past half-century have brought 11 s to a much 
better understanding of children, of the learning 
process and the nature of the many language 
activities connected with reading. The results of 
such studies, among many other branches of 
pedagogic research, have led to an approach to 
reading which is in greatest contrast to former 
methods. The so-called sentence, or visual- 
recognition, method starts with the presentation 
of a whole sentence, gradually breaking it down 
into words and letters; an analytic instead of a 
synthetic approach. This method is now used or 
adapted in a number of primary schools. It may 
sound horrific to those who believe that the 
method of line-upon-line, precept-upon-precept 
is inevitably the way to set about any under¬ 
taking of whatever nature. It is, however, a 
normal and natural way that accords with the 
process of learning that is instinctively adopted 
by children in other fields of experience. It is, 
for instance, the whole pattern not the detail that 
first impresses, and it is that which has the im¬ 
mediate interest and importance that attracts 
and holds attention. But it is on the basis of 
close association with speech that the sentence, or 
visual-recognition, method is to be most strongly 
recommended. As soon as a young child learns 
to use language at all effectively, the spoken 
word is used in the form of sentences, phrases, 
whole combinations of words; not in the form of 
isolated syllables or phonic acrobatics. Any 
interference with fluency readiness and ease in 
established linguistic habits is surely a retrograde 
step. It is true that the printed word is used for 
different purposes from the spoken word, and in 
a more formal and deliberate way. Speech, being 
spontaneous utterance, springing out of all we 
do, think, want, achieve, is so close, so inex¬ 
tricably tied up with action, feeling, desire that 
it is indeed part of them and thereby, in a sense, 
part of us: the written word, less spontaneous, 
more selective, is yet speech — but recorded speech. 


Sept.-Oct. 1953 

The relationship between speech and reading, 
then, is, in the natural order of things, indivisible 
and organic, and it is the preservation of this 
relationship that is regarded as basic in learning 
to read to-day. Speech is taught and learned, 
ideally, in the home. It may have to be estab¬ 
lished in school if home circumstances have not 
been favourable. In homes where rich and varied 
speech is freely heard and used, it is not un¬ 
common for a child to learn to read independently 
without being formally taught, linking symbols 
with already familiar speech, recognizing, for 
instance, the pattern, not the words, of sentences 
on hoardings, notices, titles of books, names of 
streets, and so on. The presence of books and all 
that books mean is also a help. Books hold 
stories and contact with books is a manifestation 
of the potency of the printed word to record and 
revive experience. To such children learning to 
read follows naturally on learning to speak; the 
technique is often absorbed almost unconsciously 
and it is of little moment what method is followed. 
The only dangerous thing to do with a child who 
can teach himself is to hold him back. The diet 
he needs is plentiful material, not so difficult as 
to discourage, not so easy as to excuse him from 
effort which is the stepping stone to progress. 

It is the others with whom we are concerned 
when assessing different approaches to teaching 
reading, with those whose speech is often limited 
and impoverished, their powers of expression 
lying dormant because of lack of stimulus and 
lack of opportunity to listen and copy. It is 
because of this kind of ‘malnutrition’, as far as 
language is concerned, that so much importance 
is attached to the pre-reading stage of abundant 
play. Toys, games, stories, songs, what is called 
‘free-play’ is good and necessary on its own 
account, but to the little newcomer, whose lan¬ 
guage facility is small, it is also the first step in 
learning to read. The play room is full of induce¬ 
ments to talk, to listen, to copy, to assimilate new 
language patterns and new vocabulary. How 
indulgent, how falsely spoiling a scene in a modern 
infant school might seem to the author of Reading 
Without Tears , thinking of ‘playfulness’ as some¬ 
thing to be curbed, not as the source out of which 
learning grows. Similarly, when reading lessons 
begin, how slip-shod, how irresponsible might 
seem the method we now use. To face a beginner 
with the sentence as the unit instead of the letter 
or the syllable would have suggested guesswork 


Sept.-Oct. 1953 


SOME MODERN 


ATTITUDES TO THE TEACHING OF READING 


145 



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and a sad lack of thoroughness. Nevertheless, 
that is what is happening, with assurance and 
intent, in many infant classrooms to-day. 
Simple sentences, which are associated so clearly 
with pictures that their content is unmistakable, 
are presented, recognized, and gradually differen¬ 
tiated. The sentences may be taken from story, 
rhyme or statement. ‘It is raining to-day’, 
symbolized by an open umbrella, for a weather 
chart, or a child’s own words may provide the 
sentence. When the picture is taken away the 
visual pattern of the sentences are differentiated 
by their shape and size, and this course is followed 
till many patterns are known. Eventually, by 
the same analytic process, individual words 
(which have been carefully selected so as to recur 
continuously) are recognized, and then, later on, 
the letters themselves. The breaking down 
process is now complete and it may take longer 
or shorter time in accordance with the speed of 
learning in particular children. This does not 
mean, obviously, that the child can now, in the 
fullest sense, read. He can make out what his 
own reading book, with its familiar vocabulary, 
is saying; first with the help of copious pictures, 


their referential use diminishing as the book 
becomes harder. But at some time his vocabulary 
will have to be widened: new words will have to 
be tackled. At this stage some phonic training is 
usually given to provide for the splitting up of 
the unfamiliar word into its component parts. 
Views on this point vary with the experience of 
different teachers, some holding that memory and 
recognition, together with analogy and the hint 
in the context, will, in the course of full and 
vigorous reading, build up a reliable vocabulary. 
Controversy also ranges about the teaching of 
spelling. If, it is argued, the pattern of the word, 
in English, is firmly established and aided by 
teaching reading and writing together and by 
giving help whenever needed, children are un¬ 
likely to make outrageous mistakes; and in any 
case, with adults it is the knowledge of the visual 
pattern of the words that generally decides 
which spelling is correct. The common course 
seems to be, however, that a certain amount of 
practice in spelling is usually given. 1 here is a 
great deal to be said on this subject, lhe factors 
that affect spelling are many and diverse and 
research has not yet given a definite answer to 











all the problems. Perhaps it might be stated 
with some assurance that the right kind of reading 
environment, quite apart from factors related to 
social economics, is generally held to be a strong 
inducement to reliable spelling, just as copious 
reading is most likely to foster it. Perhaps also 
there is a less limited view than at one time about 
the validity of faultless spelling as a measure of 
well-developed languages abilities. 

What, then, it may be asked at this stage, is, 
in the long run, gained by such methods as have 
been described, if in the end the old phonic 
method has to be resorted to ? The major gain, 
in all probability, is that of interest in what is 
read, because the vocabulary and sentence 
structure is that of daily life, in contrast with the 
sharp limitations and strictures of the phonic 
system. As an experience of reading for meaning, 
as against juggling with senseless and confusing 
phonic exercises, it has immense possibilities to 
impress, to give enjoyment, to satisfy curiosity 
and to entice the reader to go on to further 
pleasurable experiences and to lead on, in good 
time, to more exacting and mature reading 
matter. Interest, in this sense, is not to be 
thought of as the carrot for the donkey, not even 
as the harnessing of energies which otherwise 
would be expended elsewhere, but as the founda¬ 
tion and source of all that should ripen in the 
personality as the result of contact with reading 
and literature; for command of language, sensitive 
appreciation and understanding of language, have 
effects of inestimable importance on thought, 
feeling and judgment. 

There is also the fact that the normal move¬ 
ment of the eye in reading favours a straight run 
in succession when taking in words in print. A 
rearward movement, in going back to pick up the 
first syllable in phonic word-building, is contrary 
to the normal motion of the eye and may there¬ 
fore become a check to fluency. Certainly the 
rhythm and cadences of natural speech are more 
readily preserved where the sentence has always 
been the unit, in contrast with the tendencies to 
stuttering and toneless reading where the syllables 
have to be sounded separately. Good, natural, 
lively speaking aloud of what is read (and silent 
reading is nearly always a second, though vital, 
stage), conduces to a healthy perception and 
expression of meaning; meaning which is the 
focus of the whole endeavour. 

On the other hand this method has very real 


\v era Sept.-Oct. 1953 

pitfalls. The first stages, using memory and 
recognition, are usually accompanied by excite¬ 
ment and novelty and it is easy to assume that 
more has been accomplished than is the case. At 
first it is an advantage for the child to read, in 
his small two-sheet reading book, more or less bv 
heart, the sentences that are familiar. He is 
practising technique in a valuable way and 
getting into the swing as he reads aloud to him¬ 
self. Later on when he is ready for a further 
stage by working on new material he should not 
only be re-reading what he has already memorized, 
Each stage has to be carefully supervised and 
provided for, and the pace of individual children 
noted. Neglect and carelessness at the breaking- 
down stage by teachers who arc not fully aware 
of the principles concerned are likely to lead to 
superficiality and ultimate confusion, and bring 
discredit on the method. Children who are 
supposed to be ready to pass a reading test and 
who fail to do so because they have not been 
weaned from memory-reading, have not been 
given a rooted and established training or 
adequate practice. 

No one who realizes the complexity of the 
process would dare to proclaim that one method 
suits all children. The possibility of far-reaching 
effects on the child’s linguistic education, if 
progress is checked, is too great to risk overall 
treatment or a universal practice. In this con¬ 
nection it is as w T ell to remember the problem of 
backward readers, the large number of whom has 
recently so shocked the public. Among the 
possible causes discussed widely it is probable 
that insecurity in reading at the earliest stage 
may well be included. Persistent slowness to 
grasp the essentials at one stage, while being 
hurried on to the next, breeds discouragement, 
frustration and indolence, and helps to produce; 
in the junior school and later on in senior school, 
the typical ‘poor reader’. It may be that the 
first steps are taken on this downward course 
when a method unsuited to a particular child is 
forced upon him without profit. It is generally 
agreed, for instance, that many ‘late-developcrs’ 
in reading, children who are three or four years 
behind, often learn more successfully by the 
phonic method. Conversely, the methods used 
in teaching backward adults in the army, and 
said to be highly successful, seem to have been 
on the lines of the sentence method. 

The truth is that method in itself may become 














Sept.-Oct. 1953 some modern attitudes to the teaching of reading 


formalized and effete if not evolved out of 
principles based on study and hard-won know¬ 
ledge. It is common to speak casually of reading 
as a tool, instrumental to the learning of other 
subjects. This is to under-rate its intrinsic 
importance. It is a tool, but it is more; the 
means of access to further learning, but not that 
alone. It is the road to finer and better ex¬ 
periences of life reached through reading literature 
and through contact with language that is 
precise, sensitive, expressive. In some degree 
this kind of process is going on, even in an 
elementary way, in early reading lessons. It is a 
seeking for, and taking in of, meaning, responding 
to, and getting impressions from, words and 
language. It is of the same order, though at a 
very simple level, as the training in reading 
; and language study that goes on later in school 
life, and should have consequences of a profound 
nature, influencing attitudes and character in 
ways which have already been indicated. Such 
possible consequences depend, it is true, on the 
acquisition of a technique but they transcend it 
in significance. 

Misconceptions on this point, confusing the 
acquisition of a skill with the evolvement of a 
process, are revealed in the present outcry about 
falling standards, inefficient teaching and mis¬ 
taken choices in method. A conception of 
reading as a technique that, once mastered, 
confers all benefits, tends to lead to search for a 
hundred-per-cent, success method of procuring it. 
Hence the nostalgia, appearing of late in letters to 
the Press for the good old days, the three R’s and 
no frills. This somewhat utilitarian and material¬ 
istic outlook is often matched by fierce insistence 
on surface results. Frustrated and aggravated 
by what appears to be vagueness and lack of 
direction in new-method ideas, cavillers and 
carpers grow more and more irascible; and their 
constant reference to immature minds, in relation 
to learning, would seem to belittle the individual 
and creative qualities of childhood, ignoring the 
body of study and research that now throws so 
much light on the growth and development of 
children. 

W ith this attitude goes a complaint of loosening 
authority and laxity: a grumble that learning 
nowadays is made pleasant and inciting instead 
of repellent and dreary. Drudgery is presumably 
to be thought of as virtue; interest, activity, play 
methods unworthy specifics for digesting un¬ 


palatable facts. This stale and dusty creed 
seems to go back to past generations of educa¬ 
tional practice and to regret the absence of 
tears as a symbol of lack of seriousness to-day. 
Ihe notion that interest, activity, purpose 
provide the generating power for normal progress 
and development in the physical and social 
realm is generally enough accepted. There seems 
no valid reason to suppose that these same in¬ 
centives will not operate equally well in the 
educational field. That they effectively do so 
is the reason for their acceptance, not, primarily, 
for their humanistic or sentimental value. 

There is no doubt that the outcome of this 
general conflict of opinion, as well as the progress 
of educational practice, would be greatly eased 
by further research, even in a subject as copiously 
studied as Reading already is. A clearer percep¬ 
tion of principles, and a closer scrutiny of a 
method s relevance to principles, are also needed, 
both by those who teach and by those who 
train. So is a more studious appreciation of the 
whole field of reading activities in its widest and 
most significant implications. 


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148 















NUMBER IN THE PRIMARY SCHOOL 

M. Brearley, Department oj Education , University oj Birmingham 


Little drops of water 
Little grains of sand 
Make a mighty ocean 
And a pleasant land. 

To see a world in a grain of sand 
And a heaven in a wild flower, 

To hold infinity in the palm of your hand 
And eternity in an hour. 

I T is possible to see in the verse and the poem 
symbols of the two important aspects of 
mathematics which we must have in mind 
when considering our teaching of this branch of 
thinking. We have, on the one hand, the prac¬ 
tical study of quantitative thinking—a matter 
much concerned with everyday transactions— 
and, on the other, an appreciation of the subject 
as one of the avenues through which we glimpse 
the pattern and order or daws’ of the universe. 
This may seem to some people a high falutin’view 
of number in the primary school but it arises 
from the belief that no primary school teaching, 
or indeed teaching of any kind, can be sound 
which has not the long-term results in mind. 
No one who has witnessed the confusion and 
misery of many secondary school children faced 
with independent mathematics homework or 
who has asked a body of college students or a 
roomful of parents how they feel about mathe¬ 
matics, can be complacent about our procedure 
in the past. It would seem that the large majority 
of people has not achieved much satisfaction 
from either side of the study. If we answer the 
question, ‘How much mathematics does an adult 
use in everyday life if he doesn’t happen to use it 
professionally?’; we are next driven to ask, ‘Why, 
then, is so much time spent on it in school?’ Its 
major space on the time-table is partly, of course, 
an historical survival; formerly it was assumed 
that mathematics would train the mind in habits 
of logical thinking and that, therefore, even if it 
were never used afterwards, it had done its job. 
A huge volume of research 1 ’ 2 has shown that we 
can no longer count on this, though it still 
remains true that a gifted teacher can teach it 
in a way which makes it a training in thinking. 
If this were all, the time spent on it would still 
seem excessive, since the same would apply to 
gifted teaching in any subject, but this is not all. 


Mathematics is in a favoured position for such 
training: its laws in the primary stages can be 
apprehended, in time, by all children. Even in the 
primary stage it involves more than a memoriza¬ 
tion of specific facts; it demands generalized 
thinking about things and the properties of things 
and the ability to think about some of life's 
experiences in the abstract. Solving the easiest 
of problems involves some sustaining of attention, 
some exercise of judgment, some weighing of 
evidence and choice of alternatives. These ways 
of thinking are inherent in the subject matter 
and not extraneous to it. Mathematics, like all 
other ‘subjects’, represents the codified experience 
of the human race but, while each person goes 
through life untouched by certain areas of ex¬ 
perience, all must encounter number. We give 
the children help in analysing their world and 
tidying their sense impressions into universal 
systems which can then be handled and mani¬ 
pulated. The ‘new approach’ in education puts 
the teacher in a particularly strong position for 
doing this because, firstly, he knows so much 
more than formerly of the actual content of 
children’s experience as he provides much of that 
experience in school, secondly, because he can 
therefore seize the minute for providing the 
material *or the next step in thinking and, 
thirdly, because he can allow children the 
pleasure of making many of their own discoveries 
about the properties of number. (This last is 
perhaps one of the first steps in achieving our 
second objective: the gradual ‘uncovering’ of 
the structure of the world we live in.) This 
pleasure is important in itself and as a stimulus 
to further exploration. All modern theories of 
learning 3 ’ 4 emphasize the importance of the sub¬ 
jective conditions of learning and those of us who 
believe in the positive value of self-activity and 
zest for exploration because of their observed 
effects on actual children we have taught, have 
our views reinforced by modern experimenta ) 
research. 

It is proposed to take eight points summarized 
by W. A. Brownell 5 as characteristic of sound 
teaching in arithmetic and examine them with 
reference to modern methods in the primary 
school. 


149 



THE NEW ERA 


150 

1. We must teach at the rate at which the child 
learns. 

This involves the whole question of readiness 
for learning, the number content of children’s 
minds when they enter school and rates of 
progress within the school. The informal time¬ 
table of a modern infants school should give 
scojh? for accurate observation on these points. 
Readiness for learning has been described as fit¬ 
ness of the mind at that time, in virtue of its past 
experience, to apprehend and assimilate the new 
fact'. There is much conflicting evidence 5, 6 * 7 ’ 8 
about the value of postponing formal instruction: 
the evidence does at least make it clear that 
maturation is a factor in successful learning. 
Starting to learn a process too early or leaving it 
later than need be are both undesirable but surely 
not equally so. The later starter, if he has been 
ready for some time, will suffer nothing worse 
than lack of enthusiasm for the subject, which a 
good teacher can surely deal with, while the 
child who is muddled and feels a failure because 
of too early an introduction to formal work is a 
much more difficult problem. We need not 
despair, however, of learning to begin at the 
right time. Research can give us some help but 
personal research and observation can give us 
more. Children, put in contact with number 
situations, will show by their response if they 
are ready. If we know their present knowledge 
we have a fair idea of what can be learnt next. 9,93 
This readiness is not purely a matter of Mental 
Age, or Intelligence Quotient (though they are 
important factors). Social background, interest 
and even temperament may prove to be stimu¬ 
lating or inhibiting factors: an ‘orderly’ child 
from a thriving shop background may well be 
ready to learn a process earlier than a child of 
higher Intelligence Quotient from an unpractical 
family, though the latter may make more number 
discoveries for himself. Desire to gain a technique 
of, for instance, scoring, possessed by others in 
his gang may well be a motive for the gregarious 
clubable boy, while for the solitary bookworm 
other motives must be tapped. 

Research 5 9 on the exact age at which any 
particular topic should be learnt brings many 
contradictory results but reinforces the findings 
of readiness research concerning the importance of 
maturation. We must know what a child knows 
and also where he is in his logical development. 
Piaget says, 10 the construction of number goes 


Sept.-Oct. 1953 

hand in hand with the development of logic and 
a pre-numerical period corresponds to the pre- 
logical level.' Me gives as an example his famous 
experiment in which a child watching the contents 
of a full glass being poured into two glasses was 
unable to perceive that the amount was still the 
same. The lemonade did not come so far up the 
glass and therefore was less. Many elaborations 
of this theme led him to believe that the percep¬ 
tion needed to understand this idea comes with 
maturation independent of teaching. It can be 
taught before the ability matures but the learning 
is precarious, shallow and unreal. The long-term 
results of such teaching are not always disastrous 
but that they often are is evidenced very clearly 
in work at remedial centres where one meets 
many children who have lost the desire to under¬ 
stand and simply wish to know what to do. 
'Do you subtract or divide ? What do you put 
on top ?’ Every remedial teacher feels a sinking 
of the heart at such questions: they reveal the 
disease for which there is no quick cure. Modern 
methods of education, with their emphasis on 
interest in a subject as one of the signs of 
sufficient maturity to master it, can help us to 
avoid these disasters. It is a teacher’s job to 
surround the children with materials which can 
arouse these interests. The capacity to feel the 
interest is, however, a matter of the maturation 
level of the individual. Learning to reason in 
arithmetic is a slow process which parallels 
mental development in general. The number 
items in Intelligence Tests can provide us with 
some food for thought in this respect. For 
instance, in the Terman & Merrill Revision of 
the Stanford Binet test we have the following 
items for Average Adult: 

(1) If 2 pencils cost 5 pence, how many pencils 
can you buy for 50 pence ? 

(2) If a lad’s wage is 20s. a week and he spends 
14s. a week, how long will it take him to 
save 300s. ? 

Their inclusion at this point is proof that the 
majority of children have been unsuccessful in 
solving the problems before the age of sixteen. 
The processes of reasoning involved provide the 
difficulty—not the computation. Yet many 
teachers of primary school children expect a 
class to be able to do such problems because one 
or two children of superior mental calibre may 
have reached that stage in their reasoning 
ability. 



Sept.-Oct. 1953 


NUMBER IN THE PRIMARY SCHOOL 


A BACKGROUND TO 
PRIMARY SCHOOL 
MATHEMATICS 

By L. D. ADAMS 

formerly H.M. Inspector of Schools 

Bp. 192. Cloth boards. 8^. 6 d. net. 

This is a book on the philosophy of 
Primary School Mathematics, with a 
great many practical examples and illus¬ 
trations at each stage. Some of the 
diagrams have been designed by the 
author especially to illustrate the text 
while other drawings are actual examples 
of children’s work in class. 

The book is addressed in the first place to 
teachers and intending teachers in all 
types of school, to primary school teachers 
because it is a part of their problem which 
is discussed, to teachers in secondary 
schools because education is a continuous 
cycle and the primary school children of 
yesterday are the secondary school 
children of to-day and the parents and 
educators of to-morrow. It is hoped, too, 
that parents interested in their children’s 
education may find in the book some 
helpful clues to understanding their 
children’s progress and abilities and 
especially to understanding the important 
part which the apparent irrelevancies of 
out-of-school occupations may play in a 
background to mathematics. 

Applications for inspection copies should 
be sent to the 

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 
Educational Department Oxford 


151 

There have been many interesting enquiries 
into what number knowledge children have when 
they arrive at school. The summaries 5 - n - 12 of 
these are well worth studying and each teacher 
might make for himself some simple set of 
'tests’ based on a selection of these so that he 
may know where to begin—what knowledge, for 
instance, of enumeration, counting, matching, 
recognizing and recalling he has as a basis. 

There is much disagreement about the ‘in¬ 
dispensable minimum’ for all children leaving the 
primary school (i.e. with I.Q’s of 70 upwards). 
It seems important, however, that within a 
district and, at the least, within a school some 
agreement about this should be reached and that 
each teacher, at whatever age he meets the child, 
should take the responsibility for filling in the 
gaps in this minimum. 

The needs of abler children will go far beyond 
the basic ‘syllabus’. Many interesting ideas for 
them can be found in the A.T.C.D.E’s pamphlet, 13 
especially in Chapter II. 

The next four points can be considered together: 

2. A child must see sense in what he learns. 

3. The child’s activities and the purposes of 

Arithmetic must harmonise. 

4. Meanings must precede symbols: understand¬ 

ing must precede drill. 

5. We must present arithmetic as an object of 

‘ natural ’ interest. 

In (2) and (3) we have perhaps two of the most 
accepted tenets of ‘the activity approach’. One 
of the commonest misunderstandings about 
modern methods is that which suggests that 
children’s interests as they exist in the present 
are our only concern. They are important in 
themselves but also as the starting points and 
motives for further learning. A child who is 
personally involved in a situation because he is 
pursuing one of his own interests will learn better 
for a number of reasons. It has been shown that 
the factors causing interference 2 in learning have 
much less effect when the learner feels himself 
involved and when the material to be learnt has 
definite structure and meaning. What gives 
material this structure and meaning ? It seems 
to come from two sources: one inherent in the 
material and one in the learner. The gestalt or 
pattern formed by the learner is conditioned 
partly by his need. If we make it important for 
a child to learn a given thing there is a fair 
chance that he will learn it, for motive gives 







the new era Sept.-Oct. 1953 

insights which help them to rememher and build 


152 

structure to the material. A child feels more 
responsibility (or pursuing an idea that he has 
had himself than from earning out an imposed 
task which, perhaps rightly, he regards as the 

teacher's responsibility ! 

Practice work is one of the necessary in¬ 
struments of learning and, if the motive is 
adequate, will be willingly undertaken. I his 
does not mean that children will not need the 
help of the teacher’s ‘discipline’ to carry it out: 
few of us carry out laborious programmes without 
the help of external pressures. Practice alone 
may even have a negative result, the effect of 
unwilling practice may be simply to build up a 
greater resistance. I he modern view that prac¬ 
tice work should follow the experience of a need 
is based on the knowledge of the importance of 
‘acceptance’. Children who play at shop see the 
need for mastery of weighing, measuring and 
money facts. They enjoy using these facts after 
practice and then the practice and the experience 
reinforce each other constantly. Much of the 
practice work can take place incidentally: the 
teacher who knows where she is going will use 
every opportunity to refer to number in a natural 
way in the classroom. 

The belief in the importance of experience as 
a basis of number work has other support. 
Experience, according to Gestalt theories, is 
always structured or organized or meaningful. 
Many experiments 14 - 15 - 16 have shown that mean¬ 
ingful material takes from one-quarter to one- 
eighth of the time to master as that required for 
the same quantity of meaningless material (and 
that means meaningful or meaningless to the 
learner). Anyone can demonstrate this for him¬ 
self by trying to memorize, say, 149121720252833 
and then asking himself how much less time it 
would take to learn: ‘Starting with 1 keep on 
adding 3 then 5.’ 

One of the real difficulties which arises from 
letting the knowledge of abstract words outstrip 
the experiental background is the number of 
misunderstandings and misconceptions, many of 
which may be unsuspected by the teacher. An 
intelligent child of ten worried for days about 
‘a new kind of sum’ which she did not understand. 
It was called the horizontal statement'! An 
impressive list of some misconceptions can be 
found in Learning the Three R’s. 17 However, if 
we wish to aid the thinking of our children we 
can follow their experience with verbalized 


on the vaguer insights which arise from it. 

The authorities 18 * 19 * 20 * 21 who have studied 
the causes of failure in solving ‘problems' are 
unanimous in the view that children fail in their 
text-book problem solving because they have 
had little opportunity at school to learn to solve 
their own real problems and because they have 
not had the concrete experiences needed to make 
the terms of the arithmetical problems meaning¬ 
ful. It is easy to see how this has arisen. The 
time taken to work out the cost of an entertain¬ 
ment or the amount of material needed to make 
curtains or the like seems disproportionate to 
the actual amount of ‘arithmetic’ undertaken. 
Only the most gifted teachers could undertake to 
teach enough arithmetic by incidental work of 
this kind. The time spent on such problems 
however is not wasted if it gives meaning to all 
future ‘sums' of that kind. 

The importance of the discovery side of 
mathematics in the primary school cannot be 
over-estimated. The joys of discovery are too 
quickly forgotten by adults. A small boy rushed 
up to his teacher and said: ‘Do you know what 
39 and 17 are ?' ‘No,’ said the teacher, ‘Do 

you ?’ ‘56.’ ‘How did you get that ?' asked the 
teacher. ‘Oh, I just thought it,’ was the reply, T 
often think things.’ He was having experiences 
which gave him power over number and con¬ 
fidence in using it. 

6. We must ensure orderly development of quanti¬ 
tive thinking. 

At first sight it would appear that this is just 
what modern methods do not ensure. They 
appear to be more of Piaget's way of thinking: 
‘Be prepared,' he says 10 ‘to accept results in the 
order in which they come' and ‘a knowledge of 
child psychology is more important than a 
knowledge of methods’. The seeming contradic¬ 
tion between this and Brownell’s statement arises 
from the same source as many other contradic¬ 
tions—they refer surely to different spheres and 
stages of the learning process. A logical pro¬ 
gression of ideas in the teacher's mind ensures 
that he can see which elements in the varied 
body of children’s experience at any given time 
he should choose to comment on and build on. 
All experience is not equally valuable from the 
point of view of future learning. From a child’s 
point of view, for instance, it may well be that 
the collecting of bus tickets ranks equal with the 


Sept.-Oct. 1953 number in the 

collecting of stamps. For the adult, however, 
now one, now the other, may prove to be the 
basic experience which he wishes to enlarge on. 

We do not get experience in an orderly way 
but a teacher can help a child to arrange the 
items of that experience. For instance, in giving 
practice work a teacher may well prepare sum 
cards which will be more valuable if based on a 
knowledge of the established order of difficulty 
of the processes. 20 Again, when a process has to 
be taught, the relevant research on the subject 
should surely be taken into account in choosing 
the method; see for instance, the case for using 
the equal addition method of subtraction in 
Studies in Arithmetic, Vol. II. 9a 

It seems sensible to make clear to the learner, 

by our methods if not by_ 

words, that the logical pro¬ 
gression of ideas we teach as 
subject matter is a particular 
arrangement of experience 
which we have adopted in an 
attempt at a better under¬ 
standing of experience. 

7. The way children think of 
numbers is as important 
as is the result of their 
thinking. 

Instant automatic response 
to number facts is generally 
agreed to be desirable in the 
more mechanical aspects of 
arithmetic but there are many 
stages in achieving this mas¬ 
tery. A child who is asked to __ 

give the answer to '6 add 8', 
a bond he does not ‘know’, may, by a roundabout 
process such as ‘6 add 6 and 2 more’ get the right 
answer. A child who can do this is nearer 
mastery than one who cannot. The test question 
for the teacher seems to be: ‘Do the children 
expect sums to yield to ordinary ways of reason¬ 
ing or do they regard number knowledge as 
dogma which is inaccessible once it is forgotten V 
The encouragement of self-activity and in¬ 
genuity helps to provide the steps to mastery, 
and the automatic response, when it is established, 
is seen as a quick way of summarizing a process of 
thinking rather than the acceptance of an 
authoritarian statement. An intelligent boy of 
eight at a remedial centre maintained that 
6 x 8 = 43 because ‘the teacher had put it on 


PRIMARY SCHOOL 


153 


Miss Brooke Gwynne and Miss 
Brearley have written the first two 
articles in this issue to supplement 
those published in May on ‘Stand¬ 
ards in School’. In that issue our 
contributors showed both that a 
technological society has the right 
and need to demand high standards 
of teaching from its schools, and 
that schools to-day are giving to 
children a wealth of experience 
which is essential if they are to 
learn to live happily in society. 
This month our contributors show 
that, in the hands of teachers who 
fully understand them, modern 
methods of teaching the basic 
skills are very much more eecfftive 
than the old because they are based 
on scientific knowledge of the 
whole child, who is essentially a 
learning creature.— 


the board . He was at the mercy of a faulty 
piece of chalk or a badly made figure because, 
though he knew 6 x 7 = 42 he was not in the 
habit of working out anything for himself. 

Modern ideas of the importance of a variety 
of experience for later learning are reinforced by 
such concepts as dolman’s 22 ‘cognitive map’. 
He points out—what is common experience to 
us all—that with some purpose in mind we can 
often remember things which we did not con¬ 
sciously notice at the time. His view of learning 
as the formation of a new realization or expecta¬ 
tion of what will lead to what’ emphasizes the 
need to use and re-use this ‘cognitive map’ in 
the pursuit of specific purposes. For instance, 
children who have had many number experiences 

___, can work back over them for 

evidence of rules made expli¬ 
cit by the teacher. ‘When you 
collected halfpennies from each 
of your group the shopkeeper 
gave you a packet of sweets 
which cost fourpence. Eight 
halfpennies make fourpence. 
Eight halves make four 
wholes.’ ‘When you had a 
party in the Wendy house you 
had to cut your four cakes in¬ 
to halves because there were 
eight people.’ ‘When we had a 
puppet show we only put ten 
chairs in a row so that people 
could see. Eighty people were 
coming. Do you remember 
how many times we had to 
count the seats to see if there 
were enough ? We could have done this a 
quicker way—Eight rows of ten make eighty.’ 
(We must be clear that we are using this as basic 
experience rather than with the idea of giving a 
technique. For many years after they ‘know’ 

8 x 10=80 many children will want to count 
them all !) Our job, in the early teaching of 
number consists to quite a large extent in aiding 
this working back over experience and picking 
out and making explicit the patterns that are 
there. 

8. Children must know both what they are to 
learn and how well they are learning it. 

It has been shown by research 23 ’ 24 that 
clear knowledge of how one is progressing by 
comparison with one’s own early scores has a 




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definite effect on progress. The modern approach, 
which puts the emphasis on individual work and 
individual records of progress rather than com- 
jH’tition, is clearly reinforced. In trying to beat 
our own previous scores we have a safe’ motive, 
i.e. success is always possible, at least in the 
primary grades. The idea of being top of the 
class can be an incentive only to the few while 
improvement is possible to all. Here again, en¬ 
lightened modern practice, which arose partly as 
a recognition of the importance for mental 
health of the way a child feels about his work, is 
seen to be borne out by research into efficacy of 
learning. 

The importance of ‘knowing what they must 
learn' is recognized in the practice of many 
‘activity’ schools of making explicit to children 
of about 9-10 what they need to know for entrance 
to secondary schools and demonstrating to them 
when they know it. Self-correcting and self¬ 
testing devices all contribute to this. Another 
psychological principle is involved here, the ‘re¬ 
inforcement of effect’. 25 ‘A right response 
reinforces the learning, a wrong one often per¬ 
petuates confusion.’ The modern practice of 
avoiding mistakes in the beginning of learning 
(e.g. having access to tables, dictionaries, etc.) 
is shown to be conducive to good learning as it 
strengthens the tendency to repeat the right 
response. 26 In addition, the practice of pre¬ 
senting ideas in many contexts has a sound 
basis: if we wish to prevent incidental stimuli 
from getting in the way of learning we must 
make clear to a child what he knows in a variety 
of situations. 27 

I hus it would seem that modern methods of 
education, which to the onlooker sometimes 


seem haphazard, satisfy a pretty exacting list of 
requirements. Such research 28, 29, 30 as has been 
done on the effect of these methods on children’s 
arithmetical knowledge bears out these state¬ 
ments. Much more research is needed and when 
teachers, who can best do this, are a little less 
pressed, perhaps they will undertake it. 

There is a story told about the Florentine 
painter who ‘discovered’ perspective. He stayed 
up all night playing with the idea and when his 
wife reproached him all he replied was, ‘How 
delightful a thing is this perspective !’ We 
could make a revolution in attitudes to arithmetic 
if every teacher’s aim were to leave his children 
thinking: ‘How delightful a thing is this 
Arithmetic !’ 

REFERENCES 

1 \ 2 Two Rood accounts of this can be found in: 

The Report of the Consultative Committee on Secondary Education 
(The Spens Report). H.M.S.O. Appendix V, 1939. 

Stephens, j. M., Educational Psychology. Constable, Chap. 15, 1951. 

Good summaries of these are to be found in: 

Hillard, E. R., Theories of Learning. N.Y. Appleton Centurv Crofts 

1048. 

Valentine, C. VV., Psychology and its Bearing on Education. Methuen, 
1950. 

5 Brownell, W. A., Arithmetic in (trades l amt II. A Critical summary of 
new and previously reported research. Duke University Press, 1941. 

6 Washburne, C. W., ‘When should we teach Arithmetic?’ A Committee 
of Seven Investigation. Elementary School Journal, XXXVIII, 192H. 

7 Scottish Council for Research in Education. Slushes in Arithmetic, 
I and II, 1939-40. 

8 Morphett, M. V., Washburne, C. W., Postponing Eormal Instruction. 
Washington I).C., 1940. 

9 Scottish Council for Research in Education. Studies in Arithmetic, 
Vol. II, XXVIII. U.L.I\, 1940. Addition and Subtraction Facts and 
Processes. 

9a Washburne, C. W., The grade placement of Arithmetic topics. 29th 
Year book. Bloomington, Ill. Public School Pub. Co., 1930. 

10 Piaget, J., The Child's Conception of Number. Routledge & Kegan 
Paul, 1952. 

11 Scottish Council for Research in Education, No. XX. Early Develop¬ 
ment of Number Concepts. U.L.P. 

,2 Valentine, C. W., Intelligence Tests for Young Children. Methuen, 
1945. 

*3 A.T.C.D.E., Arithmetic in the Primary School. Longmans Green & 
Co., 1940. 

14 Katona, G., Organising amt Memorizing. Columbia University 
Press, 1940. 

15 Brownell, W. A., and Moser, H. E. Meaningful v. Mechanical Learn¬ 
ing. Duke University Press, 1949. 

i® McGeoeh, J. A., The Psychology of Human Learning. N.Y. Longmans, 
1942 

• 7 Hildreth, G., Learning the Three R's. A Modern Interpretation. 
Education Publishers Inc., 1940. 

18 Hall, J. V., ‘Oral Aids to Problem Solving’. Elementary School 
Journal, XLIII., 1942. 

> 9 Morton, R. L* ‘Pupils’ Errors in Solving Arithmetic Problems’. 
Educational Research Bulletin. Ohio State University. 1925. 

2°Schonell, F. J., Diagnosis of Individual Difficulties in Arithmetic. 
Oliver & Boyd, 1937. 

21 Stevenson, P. R., Remedial and Follou -up H'orfc.- Problem Solving. 
Bloomington, Ill., Public School Pub. Co., 1929. 

22 Tolman, Ii. C., Purposive Behaviour in Animals and Men. Berkeley 
Univ. Cal. Press, reprinted 1919. 

23 a 2 * For an account of some of the researches see: 

Young, P. T., Motivation of Behaiiour. N.Y. Wiley, 1939. 

McGeoeh, T. A., The Psychology of Human learning. N.Y. Long¬ 
mans, 1942. 

25 Thorndike, Ii. I.., Human learning. N.Y. Century, 1931. 

26 Mvers, G. C., Persistence of Errors in Arithmetic. Journal of Edu¬ 
cational Research, Vol. X. 

27 Smoke, K. L., An objective study of concept formation. Psychological 
Monographv, 1932. 

2* I). E. M. Gardner, Testing Results in the Infants School. Methuen, 
193M. 

29 D. E. M. Gardner, Long term results of Infant School Methods. 
Methuen, 1950. 

5°Curr, W. and Iivans, Ii., ‘Intelligence and Attainment in an Activity 
School’. Educational Review, Vol. 2, No. 3, 1950. 





THE GOOD INFANT SCHOOL-III 

PLAYING THEIR WAY TO THE THREE R's 


£. R. Boyce 


I N discussing effective education, I suggested 
that, in the course of growing up and adapting 
to the reality of life in a good Infant school, 
children will achieve the skills of which they are 
capable. For most of them, these skills include 
the reading of simple books, the manipulation of 
small numbers and the ability to write with a 
pencil. In some cases, at the present time, this 
achievement is an urgent need because parental 
anxiety has reached the exaggerated proportions 
of judging children’s whole worthiness by their 
ability to read and write. The staff of a good 
school recognizes such anxieties and sacrifices 
their own preference for certain methods and 
dogma to the strivings of the children to satisfy 
their parents. 

Teachers, who will know the family back¬ 
grounds, have to decide whether it is better to 
stabilize a sense of competence by teaching a 
child to read as soon as he is able to do so or to 
delay instruction because he needs more time for 
steady growth in other directions. They may have 
to consider the wisdom of hurrying a given child’s 
interest in reading and seek ways of doing so. 

These are the only real problems about the age 
of learning to read. The question of readiness 
presents no difficulty to teachers who accept the 
fact that the skills of reading and writing, like 
those of walking and talking, cannot be achieved 
until a child is ready to be able to learn. They 
know that it is useless, even harmful and always 
wasteful, to try to hurry the ripening and in¬ 
tegration of unseen growth-forces which make 
children organically capable of learning how to 
learn to read. Nor is recognition of readiness a 
problem when children are challenged daily by 
their environment. When these unseen maturing 
forces are capable (ready) of functioning, children 
in the good school, seek out the kind of experience 
that will satisfy an awakening interest. This is 
the time to hurry interest if it is for a child’s 
good, or to give more opportunities for further 
experiment and exploration. (In the discussion 1 
which followed, the general opinion was that it 

1 This is the third of five articles by Miss Boyce, the first two of which 
we published in March and June, 1953. They contain the substance of 
lectures given to members of The Nursery School Association last 
Autumn. — Ed. 


was best to follow up signs of 'readiness’ as soon as 
possible. My own opinion is not so firm, a good 
deal depends on the nature of the following up.) 

Let us return to the question of the challenging 
environment. As a child matures, educative 
experience in the form of things, people, situations 
and purposes play a progressively more important 
role. Feelings of new power are woven together 
with feelings of interest and fresh surges of 
curiosity compel wider experiment with greater 
discoveries. Ihe good school is ready to meet 
and guide a child as he goes forward to further 
conquests of the adult world and to greater self- 
knowledge and mastery. When he is able to 
learn the way of learning to read and write, he 
finds the tools ready to hand. These include 
materials, friends to learn with, teachers to 
encourage and approve, and leisure. Should they 
also include instruction ? 

To answer this question, we must consult our 
knowledge of children. Every skill develops by 


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1 55 









THE NEW ERA 


156 


Stpt.-Oct. 1953 



THE NEW SCHEME OF 
INFANT READING 
THROUGH ACTIVITY 






co^ 




READING 


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degrees out of preceding phases of growth. 
Speech development begins with the sounds a 
baby makes in the first few weeks of life. Walking 
is an achievement at the end of a long series of 
developing co-ordinations and experience. The 
ability to learn to write began in babyhood with 
handling, poking, grasping, playing with bricks, 
marking with any kind of tool. Each succeeding 
co-ordination, effected by the growth of unseen 
organs, compelled the exploring child to seek out 
fresh experience in the form of tools for marking 
and surfaces to mark on. He wants to scribble, 
he seeks the suitable tools and then practices 
the skill (plays at it). Lumps of chalk, pointed 
stones, pencils; anything can be used to serve 
his need and any surface will do — walls and 
pavements included. 

Then he comes to the good infant school. 
There are the marking tools, bright crayons, 
thick pencils, chalks. They challenge him to play 
his games of scribbling. There are the surfaces — 
legitimate surfaces — millboards, papers, a big 
board on the floor or wall. And there is plenty 
of time to do what he wants and he feels that his 
teacher is willing and approves. In his experi¬ 


ments, he makes every sort of mark which he 
will use when he spontaneously takes to writing 
letters. The challenge does not stop there. The 
teacher he has grown to love and admire writes 
words and naturally he wishes to identify himself 
with her and do what she can do. Books are 
brought to his notice. His name is written on his 
possessions. It is not surprising that he soon 
mixes letters with scribble and decorates his 
drawings with them. His teacher’s pleasure and 
his own delight in achievement, send him prac¬ 
tising with enthusiasm. Each voluntary practice 
contributes to his ability and adds to his control. 
Now he deliberately repeats what may have 
seemed to be a haphazard activity. Through 
freedom to use well-chosen materials in the 
challenging environment of a good school and 
with the guidance of a good teacher, he has 
played his way to writing as he played his way to 
walking. But in both cases, there was encourage¬ 
ment, things to use and to experiment with and 
opportunities for practice. Of course, greater 
skill will grow out of the beginnings. In fact the 
play in the five-year-olds’ classroom is the 
foundation for the firmness of pencil at seven 


THE GOOD INFANT SCHOOL 


Sept.-Oct. 1953 

and eight and the fluent ease of eleven and 
twelve. Handwriting instruction may be neces¬ 
sary in the future. We shall deal with this 
possibility later. 

The genetic origin of reading is the spontaneous 
interest in looking and recognizing; mother’s face, 
other faces, shapes in connection with the needs 
of food and drink, shapes of moving objects, then 
pictures and the looks of sameness and of 
difference. By three years, children are drawing 
the shapes of the familiar house and man and 
naming them. Thus they are already using and 
recognizing the symbol, i.e. the small shape 
instead of the thing. Development in drawing 
brings more insight. The shape can now represent 
an idea and a pattern of symbols conveys his 
meaning. Meanwhile, the growth of the eye and 
the strengthening of eyesight stimulate an 
interest in pictures with more detail, in play with 
smaller objects and oddly-shaped parts like jig¬ 
saws. These little things are scrutinized and each 
scrutiny gives the eyesight practice. Innumer¬ 
able adjustments have to be made according to 
the variety and pattern of things looked at (not 
merely seen). From long sight, eyes are slow in 
adjusting to seeing close and becoming used to 
change of focus. 

This development varies enormously by school 
age. Some children have had no experiences of 
‘looking into’. Others may be physiologically 
immature as far as eyesight is concerned. Through 
a wise selection of materials and opportunities for 
use, the good Infant school provides each one 
with the experiences he wants at the time of his 
awakening power and his impulse towards the 
mastery of his world through looking and 
recognizing. They play their way to reading 
while they are playing their way to writing. The 
same materials often serve both purposes. All 
the making, drawing and painting; the manipula¬ 
tion of small shapes, the recognition of detail, the 
cutting out and sticking in; the matching and 
sorting; every activity in which the hand guides 
the eye; shop play with various coins—all have 
riches to offer a child who is learning the way of 
learning to read. Besides, there is the challenge 
of picture books, the stories their teacher writes 
for them, the books she reads from. And another 
challenge to interest in the freedom to get together 
round a picture and to share in the chatter that 
it stimulates. Yet another in following the ideas 
as a story unfolds. The natural outcome of these 


157 

experiences is the writing of a meaningful word 
under a picture of their own and the delight of 
discovering that ‘I know what that says.’ 

This is reading at their level. They have 
played their way to this achievement just as 
they played their way to speaking. They have 
had no need of instruction but have slipped into 
knowing ‘how’ in their own ‘pre-logical’ un¬ 
ordered way. 

Under the same conditions and in the same 
stimulating classroom environment, they extend 
their understanding of how measurement is 
managed in the world of grown-ups. Their first 
ideas came with play and exploration, with their 
growing powers of locomotion, their observation 
and games of pretence. The good school does not 
interfere with their discovery. All the handling, 
manipulating, building, pouring, filling, syphon¬ 
ing, making, estimating and arranging is their 
educative experience, and it provides the under¬ 
standing which becomes completely absorbed 
through their interest. They slip into the skill of 
making figures just as they write their first 
letters. Free communication and discussion 
provides them with the language of measurement 
and gives them insight into the sequence of 
numbers and their significance. So they play 
their way to arithmetic. 

In the matter of the three R’s, as in everything 
else, the good Infant school aims at effective 
education through the satisfaction of the 
children’s needs. But this is impossible without 
considering their way of growing. In learning 
how to learn, they take their own time and use 
their own intuitive, unsystematic way of dis¬ 
covery. They gain nothing from step by step 
instruction and the large majority are too 
emotionally immature to follow lessons, even if 
they are ‘ready’. In the next two articles, I hope 
to continue the subject of effective education, 
dealing with other developments and needs and 
the way in which the good school meets them. 
Instruction and lessons will be discussed. 


THE N.E.F. INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE, 
ASKOV, AUGUST, 1953, will be reported briefly in the 
November New Era, and Dr. Laurin Zilliacus’ paper on 
The Philosophy of the New Education and Miss M. L. 
Hourd’s summary of the conclusions of the Group Leaders 
will be published in full. 

Other articles will deal with the Secondary Education 
of non-Academic Adolescents and will include papers by 
Dr. Mary Swainson of Leicester, Mr. A. A. Bloom, and Mrs. 
P. Broyd of the East Ham Youth Employment Office, 
London.—E d. 





THE NEW ERA 


Sept.-Oct. 1953 


158 


Janet and John 

With these famous books and activity 
material rapid progress is made in the 
early stages because the pictures and 
the reading are so attractive and enjoy¬ 
able. At the same time, sound work is 
ensured by thorough control of the 
introduction of new words and by 
consistent revision of every word intro¬ 
duced. In the basic course the Long 
Series relics on a ‘Look’ approach, 
while the Short Series has a planned 
phonic basis. 

There arc 54 supplementary readers, 
and apparatus and activity material 
arc built around the Janet and John 
pictures and characters—large pictures, 
coloured cut-out pictures, a drawing 
book, outline pictures, matching activi¬ 
ties, cards, jigsaws, etc. 


The First Year in School 

E. R. Boyce 

Miss Boyce writes with wise and 
sympathetic understanding of the prob¬ 
lems which face five-year-old children 
when they leave the sheltered familiarity 
of home for the new atmosphere and 
unknown surroundings of school. She 
traces their progress towards readiness 
for the school work of later years, 
stressing the fundamental truth that 
personal experience is the basis of all 
their understanding at this stage. The 
clarity and comprehensiveness of her 
thought make this book an important 
work on a vital aspect of educational 
technique. 12/6d. net 

“/1 is packed on every page with practical 
advice for the teacher .” the SCHOOL¬ 
MASTER. 

Also Infant School Activities 10/- net 


James Nisbct & Co. Ltd. 22 BERNERS street, LONDON, w.i. 


The First Year in School. £. 

R. Boyce. ( Nisbet . 12/6). 

Ever since Margaret McMillan’s 
great work at Deptford placed Nursery 
Schools in the forefront of the public 
eye, too little attention has been gi\en 
to the needs of the children during 
their first year at the Infant school. 
Miss Boyce has now filled this gap by 
a stimulating and constructive book. 
It happens that in Britain children 
begin school at five when their needs 
arc governed by the practice and 
thought of the nursery rather than of 
the schoolroom. Over twenty years 
ago this was made clear by the report 
of the Consultative Committee, and 
ever since Nursery School enthusiasts 
have claimed that their children 
should remain with them to six and 
possibly even later. Continental prac¬ 
tice with its greater emphasis on 
formal training has always accepted 
a later age of entry, ft has, therefore, 
l»ecn left to our Infants’ schools to 
receive their children at five and make 
the best of the difficult job of bridging 
the gap between infancy and child¬ 
hood. Their success in so doing has 
varied enormously from school to 
school. 


Book Reviews 

Miss Boyce writes from personal 
experience anti is careful to illustrate 
her ideas by many pen pictures of 
children’s thought and action. Her 
writing has the conviction of the 
experienced teacher who has proved 
her theories in practice and believes in 
them. To her there is no doubt that 
the job of the schools is ‘to answer 
the children’s individual needs in 
their struggle for self-mastery and in 
the establishment of satisfying relation¬ 
ship with the rest of their world’. 
Throughout, emphasis is placed on 
individuality and on the supreme 
difficulty of honouring individual needs 
in the presence of groups of forty. 
Instruction has no place in the world 
of the five-year-old for their educa¬ 
tional needs are met by doing, seeing, 
hearing, speaking, touching, imagining 
and, above all, realizing. The teacher, 
and behind her the members of 
Managers and Education Committees, 
set the scene and provide the security 
and affection without which a healthy 
childhood is impossible. 

In discussing the needs of the 
school and the difficulties of the 
teachers, the miserable conditions of 
many of our schools and the un¬ 
imaginative provision of school equip¬ 


ment receives sharp criticism. It is 
high time that the nation stopped 
paying lip service to education and 
really got down to the task of putting 
schools right. Yet Miss Boyce keeps 
balance and does not allow the im¬ 
mensity of the need to deflect her 
from giving full advice on how to 
overcome the meanest conditions. 
Thus, after a discussion of the pattern 
of school life and the possibility of 
understanding without lessons, she 
takes each of the broad fields of 
learning — language, measurements, 
books — and analyses carefully the 
reasons whereby each can provide the 
background for the child’s natural 
growth. No-one who is in daily 
contact with five-year-olds, whether 
at home or school, can fail to be 
fascinated by these discussions with 
their broad sympathy for and insight 
of the child's ways of thinking and 
growing. 

Perhaps it all sounds too easy — 
place the child in a spacious setting 
where there is an atmosphere of 
encouragement and helpfulness, where 
he can feel relaxed and free to venture, 
and then his own spirit of inquiry and 
the mysterious process of maturation 
will do the rest. This presupposes, 











Sept.-Oct. 1953 

however, teachers with deep sensi¬ 
tivity, intelligence and faith — a com¬ 
bination which is perhaps rarer than 
the author would care to admit. 

There is always the child in every 
class who fails to react to the normal 
stimulus of companionship, security 
and worth-while activity. Such a 
child makes an undue demand on the 
teacher who may have little time or 
energy to sort out his difficulties or 
to devise the right stimulus. It is 
here that the many practical observa¬ 
tions will be of the greatest assistance 
to teachers who are faced with planning 
their work. The list of materials 
available for five-year-olds, the sug¬ 
gestions for grouping of equipment 
and for layout of the classroom will be 
a help to many less experienced readers 
who will be glad of new ideas or of 
confirmation of their own practice. 
Throughout, it is the five-year-old 
who is considered in relation to his 
limited experience and growing needs. 
Entry to school, as has been shown by 
recent articles in The New Era, presents 
both opportunities and problems which 
are well discussed and sympathetically 
handled. Here then is a worthwhile 
and stimulating book which will 
record for the future the best practice 
and thought of teaching normal five- 
year-old children in the middle years 
of this century. 

A. L. Hutchinson 

Phantasy in Childhood. Audrey 
Davidson and Judith Fay. ( Rout- 
ledge and Kegan Paul. 18/-). 

In their book Phantasy in Childhood 
the authors have set out to show, with 
the help of a quantity of valuable 
clinical examples, that unconscious 
phantasies have their roots in infancy 
and are fundamental and universal. 
Their observations, which are based on 
the work of Mrs. Melanie Klein, are set 
forth in a very pleasant straightforward 
style, satisfyingly free from jargon. 

The first chapter deals with ‘The 
World in Black and White’ and the 
second with ‘The Influence of the Real 
World’. The former is concerned with 
the young child’s uncompromising 
attitude to ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’, and the 
latter chapter is concerned with the 
interaction between the child’s inner 
life of phantasy and the real external 
world around it, and is, to my mind, 
the best chapter in the book. 

The next four chapters deal with the 
various phases of early emotional 
development and describe phantasies 
connected with the mouth, with genital 
feelings, with excreta and with ‘middle 
childhood’. The book ends with a vivid 
and detailed description of the working- 
through of the unconscious phantasies 
of a most engaging small girl, Dinah, 


BOOK REVIEWS 

from her birth to the age of three. 
Only one thing seemed to me to mar the 
full enjoyment of this chapter and that 
was the fact that so much of the 
material had already been presented 
earlier in the book. This, to my mind, 
reduced the full impact of the story on 
the reader and it would have been 
better if the authors could have made 
use of other examples in the early part 
of the book. 

The clear style and avoidance of 
technical terms make the book very 
readable and I would suggest that, 
even as it stands, it will appeal to a 
wider public than the psycho-analyti- 
cally orientated one for whom the 
authors claim to be writing. It is true, 
however, that after reading a most 
attractive fairy-tale opening, the 
reader is plunged rather rapidly and 
with little warning into descriptions 
and possible interpretations of un¬ 
conscious phantasies. This seems a 
pity since it may deter the bulk of the 
uninitiated, who after all are those 
who most need the enlightenment this 
work can bring, from finishing the 
book. Perhaps in future editions the 
authors could preface their book with 
some preliminary explanations and 
remarks to reduce the fears of those 
unused to the concept of unconscious 
phantasy. 

This book has much to offer to all 
those who have the welfare of children 
in their hands, whether they be 
teachers, nursery workers or parents. 
It should help to allay many fears 
about the ‘over-imaginative’ child 
and, to quote the authors, show how 
‘good development lies not only in the 
ability to express phantasies in a 
socialized way, but above all by the 
development of the phantasies them¬ 
selves. The living through of 
phantasies implies not a mere dis¬ 
carding of them, as a snake shuffles off 
his skins, but the modification and 
integration of them as the centre of 
life’. 

Beryl Sand ford 

Talks to Boys and Girls. 

(Krishnamurti Writings, 29 Park 
Lane, Wembley, Mddx. 7/6). 

Throughout most of December, 1952, 
Krishnamurti spent twenty minutes 
each morning talking to the boys and 
girls of the Foundation for New Educa¬ 
tion, Rajchat-Banaras, and answering 
their questions. The ages of the chil¬ 
dren ranged from 9 to 20. Reading 
these talks has been of the greatest 
help to me personally, but I find it 
difficult to review them. I find myself 
convinced of the truth of what he says 
and, as so often happens in such cases, 

I want everybody in education and out 
of it to have the opportunity of a 


159 

similar experience. Yet a summary 
might well prove a stumbling block. 
For what is important is not what 
Krishnamurti says but the experience 
of being conducted by him through the 
tortuous labyrinth of one’s own 
thoughts to the point where it is 
realized that no effort of the mind will 
remove the barriers to Truth. For it is 
at that point that the mind may 
become ‘very quiet, very still’ and ‘in 
that stillness you find what is true’ 
because, when the barrier of anxiety is 
removed, intelligence and love — and 
so understanding and creative peace 
are there. Some readers of a summary 
might well be put off by Krishnamurti 
the revolutionary, while others might 
wish to read more in order to become 
‘disciples’, from Krishnamurti’s point 
of view an even worse result. He is 
never tired of saying or implying that 
his words are only to awaken the 
intelligence and that mere acceptance 
of what he says will help nobody. 

What happens to one as one reads 
these talks, the children’s questions and 
Krishnamurti’s answers? One by one 
the props which support for the main 
part the structure of our life and 
society and so of our schools are 
removed. One becomes convinced that 
authority, ambition, imitation, tradi¬ 
tion, memory, competition, comparison, 
duty, discipline, belief, morality, 
respectability—all children of fear— 
are, to change the metaphor, barriers 
to what is really important—truth, 
love, intelligence, initiative, under¬ 
standing, inner and outer peace, 
creativeness. One becomes convinced, 
that is, one is not too frightened to 
listen. 

Education is thus seen to be a 
question of removing barriers, the 
barriers springing from anxiety and 
fear, the concern which each individual 
isolated in his own self-consciousness, 
has for his own continued existence, 
safety, reputation, and so on. ‘Intelli¬ 
gence comes when there is no fear’ 
therefore ‘the essence of education is 
to free the student from fear’ and so 
‘the teacher must be free from fear’. 

It is fear which leads us to create 
authority, the outer authority of the 
powers that be and also the inner 
authority of the ideal. And authority 
destroys intelligence. When you go to 
an authoritarian school, especially one 
when you like the teacher, you go out 
from it 'filled with information which 
you can pick up at any time, but you 
have lost the vitality to enquire, to 
revolt’. 

Ambition is another child of fear. 
‘The ambitious man is the most 
frightened man because he is afraid to 
be what he is.’ He has not found his 
true vocation. ‘Education should help 
you to be so intelligent that you can 




THE NEW ERA 


160 


A HANDBOOK OF SOCIAL STUDIES 

JOAN DAY and DAVID JORDAN 

‘Probably the best lxx>k on this new approach to school 
work which has yet been produced. It is short, clear, 
practical and helpful.’ Higher Education Journal 

‘ Phe most helpful book which has so far come into my 
hands.* M. K. Beggs-Humphreys, writing on Social 

Studies in The Icacher's World 

‘A most lucid statement of the case for Social Studies and 
a stimulating guide for the teacher.’ rhe New Era 

2nd impression. With 28 diagrams. Is. 6 d. net 

METHUEN & CO. LTD. 

36 Essex Street, London W.C. 2 


choose a job you love or starve, but 
not do something which will make you 
miserable for the rest of your life.’ 

The mind is the instrument of 
comparison based on memory', and 
‘comparative judgment makes the 
mind dull'. For how can one really 
look at a sunset or a person to under¬ 
stand them if one is looking in order 
to compare with yesterday's sunset or 
another person? ‘So the mind creates 
a pattern in which it gets caught; so 
that it cannot look at anything afresh; 
and so it destroys that very perfume 
of life which is love’. 

Belief is another by-product of 
anxiety, something beyond itself for 
the frightened mind to cling to, ‘but 
it is only in freedom you can find what 
is true, what is God, not through any 
belief*. 'It is the function of education 
to create such individuals as arc not 
bound by any form of belief, morality, 
respectability — to make individuals 
truly religious.* 

Fear that people will not naturally 
do what is good either for others or 
themselves results in a belief in 
discipline, ‘the process of making you 
do something you do not want to do 
by coercion, resistance, persuasion, 
compulsion, the offering you of a 
reward'. 'If you do not understand 
something, do not be compelled to do 
it' for if you are made to do something, 
even ‘for your good' your sensitivity 
is thereby destroyed and with it ‘your 
capacity to understand and love*. 

The self-conscious individual is thus 
enclosed by the barriers he sets up to 
give himself illusory escape from 
anxiety and fear. Vet it is 'the natural 
instinct of every person to want to end 


suffering*. The way is to become more 
fully conscious. When we can under¬ 
stand ourselves as we are, fearful, 
ambitious, envious, imitative, and so 
on, then without any further effort on 
our part we begin to be free of these 
states. Then there is intelligence, love, 
understanding, peace. 

This summary is very incomplete 
and may have just the results I feared 
at the beginning of this review. But 
there it is. Someone may object. ‘But 
these talks were given to children 
between the ages of 9 and 20. Could 
they follow? I think perhaps better 
than their elders. I read some of the 
earlier talks in this book on fear and 
authority to a group of Sixth Formers. 
There ic no question they followed the 
drift and some were very disturbed. 
A good sign or a bad? A group of 
bright Fourth Formers were very 
attentive too, though not the whole 
Form. My own adolescent sons were 
very interested and a friend reports the 
same of her daughters. 

Krishnamurti’s penetration into the 
heart of a problem can be seen when 
he is answering questions. I should 
like to end with a few examples: 

Q. How to be intelligent? 

A. You ask for a method. Intelli¬ 
gence is the very questioning of the 
method. 

Q. What is real greatness and how 
can I be great? 

A. You see the unfortunate thing is 
you want to be great . . . why are you 
not prepared to be what you are ? 

Q- Is beauty a subjective quality or 
an objective? 

A. Why do you ask that question? 
To write an essay on it? You know ?*■ 


Sept.-Oct. 1953 

school and at college you arc asked to 
write essays and so what do you do? 
You collect, you read Ixxiks and, like 
squirrels, collect ideas from books, 
from other people, and put all these 
ideas together cm paper, and pass it on 
to the examiner . . . 

Q. What is the purpose of creation? 

A. When do you ask this question? 
When you arc confused. If I am 
confused 1 can only receive an answer 
which is also confused. So what is 
important is not to ask 'What is the 
purpose of life, of existence?’ but to 
clear the confusion that is in you and 
the causes of the confusion are very 
clear; they arc in the ‘me’, in the T 
that is constantly wanting to expand 
itself through envy, jealousy, hatred, 
imitation—when that confusion is 
cleared you will know the significance 
of existence. 

Q. Why is truth unpalatable? 

A. You avoid knowing what exposes 
your inner nature. 

If, dear reader, you wish to avoid 
such exposure, you had better after all 
keep clear of Krishnamurti’s talks. 

Harold Pratt 

Education and the Spirit of 
the Age. Sir Richard Living¬ 
stone. (Oxford University Press. 
7\6. 1952). 

There is a gracious wisdom about 
this book, which has two main themes. 
The author first invites us to consider 
the full meaning of the terms liberal¬ 
ism, rationalism and science, pointing 
out (page .‘1) that there is not only a 
positive aspect to them but that 
‘every quality is haunted by a defect, 
and we need to watch our virtues as 
well as our vices.’ Having suggested 
further that a new philosophy of life, 
based on the appreciation of a variety 
of values, is needed to make these three 
determinants of our existence cogent 
and creative, Sir Richard proceeds to 
indicate with great lucidity the dangers 
inherent in what is vulgarly called the 
‘scientific outlook’. He emphasizes 
especially the limitations of a purely 
analytical outlook on life, not least as 
it affects the immature organisms of 
children, who are constantly exposed 
to its influence. ‘Our civilization is 
increasingly built on analysis; it is the 
habit of mind which our higher 
education tends to produce, and the 
intellectual atmosphere which we 
breath, and so its effects pass un¬ 
noticed.’ I am not criticizing it, but 
pointing out its limitations; in places 
w'here its techniques are practised, a 
line of Wordsworth should be written 
up in large letters, as a warning of 
dangers that attend analysis, 

‘We murder to dissect. 







BOOK REVIEWS 


Sept.-Oct. 1953 

The parts, even if they are complete, 

are not the same as the whole.' 

(page 83). 

‘My argument,’ he remarks (page 
28), ‘is that fifth century Athens 
suffered from a malaise of intellectual 
and spiritual confusion, resembling our 
own and like it, due to the impact of 
science and reason on accepted religious 
and moral beliefs, and that the pro¬ 
gressive rot was stayed when Plato set 
himself to find a clear philosophy of 
life.’ 

It is here and also in the author’s 
commendation of the Christian faith 
(page 34) that the reader may legiti¬ 
mately halt and raise three queries, 
which have been creeping about in his 
mind. First, is it really true that the 
Greek crisis and our crisis are com¬ 
parable? The fact that the abolition of 
slaves and the advent of the machine 
stands between them, surely reduces 
greatly the value of such a comparison. 
Secondly, is the kind of cultural and 
spiritual recipe which Sir Richard 
prescribes suitable for the only very 
recently literate mass of mankind, 
which, because it has not yet reached 
the intellectual level necessary to use 
the tools of reason with discrimination, 
constantly tends to regress through 
totalitarian leadership and collective 
infantilism into primitive forms of 
living and dying? Thirdly, and this is 
clearly linked to our second question, is 
it not unrealistic to expect the religious 
reawakening to occur within the frame¬ 
work of an exclusively Christian faith? 
Sir Richard pays tribute (page 35) to 
the proposed syllabus for the combined 
study of religion and philosophy con¬ 
tained in the Report of the Indian 
University Commission (1948-49). He 
does not seem prepared to recognize 
the need, if economic, social and 
political problems are to be solved on 
a world basis, for the establishment of 
a world religion influencing all men’s 
lives through the acceptance of globally 
valid moral values. The brotherhood 
of man is indeed dependent on the 
fatherhood of God, but he is no partial 
parent. 

It Avould be sheer delight to list all 
the good things that occur in this book; 
two examples must suffice to whet the 
reader’s appetite. On page 17 there is 
a fine summary of Western society’s 
spiritual predicament '. . . we arrive at 
a generation without either illusions or 
a positive faith, kept from collapse by 
dead convictions, which still influence 
its conduct but are no longer anchored 
in its beliefs’. On pages 99-100, Sir 
Richard, agreeing with Whitehead, 
admirably weighs the advantages and 
disadvantages of academic specializa¬ 
tion. ‘But the narrowness which such 
concentration encourages cannot be 
counteracted merely by including 


science, literature, history, art and 
other subjects in the specialist’s 
education. These no doubt will find 
a place there, but they may be, and 
often are, merely patches of plaster 
loosely attached to the surface of the 
mind. It is not a question of acquiring 
new knowledge, but of correcting the 
eye of the soul . . . No education is 
adequate unless it awakes the sense of 
value in its various incarnations, 
unless it achieves a balance between 
the analytic intellect and something 
higher, and reveals the existence of 
realities beyond criticism, analysis, and 
even understanding; this is the sphere 
of the higher life of men.’ 

Education and the Spirit of the Age 
is a lovely and inspiring book from 
which everyone can profit. The doubt 
is whether Sir Richard, being far more 
strongly in touch with the Hellenistic 
and Christian ingredients of liberalism 
than he himself probably realizes, does 
quite speak to the condition of two 
generations of men and women, who 
have been tempted to see life only as a 
‘dirty joke’ and who, in order to 
recognize it once again as a divine 
comedy, are evoking a religious faith, 
beyond all sects, which receives its 
intimations of transcendence through 
experience of that inner psychological 
reality, named by Jung ‘The Self’ and 
by theologians ‘The Godhead 
Immanent’. James Henderson 


161 

Quakers and Education. W. 

A. Campbell Stewart. (The Ep- 
worth Press. TO/-). 

The important contribution of 
Quakers to British education has long 
been recognized, but the student has 
hitherto been able to find few details 
of this in our general histories of 
education. The appearance of Dr. 
Stewart’s sympathetic and scholarly 
survey of the character, problems and 
achievement of the Quakers’ own 
schools, seen in their historical and 
social background, is, therefore, most 
welcome. His account of the diverse 
influence of the fundamental Quaker 
tenets on Quaker educational principles 
and endeavour provides a vivid and 
balanced record of shortcomings as 
well as successes in each period. In 
general Quakers appear to have 
received, not necessarily in Quaker 
schools, the education in each age 
appropriate to their particular class. 

The early period is revealed as one 
when many schools were founded by 
individual Quaker effort. That from 
1725 to 1779 was a period of con¬ 
solidation rather than expansion. 
From 1779 however Meeting schools, 
such as Ackworth, were founded, 
specifically to preserve Quaker beliefs 
and ideals, among children of less 
affluent and ‘disowned’ Quakers, in 
the utilitarian spirit of Fox and Penn, 


( 

( 

( 

( 

( 

( 

( 

( 

( 

( 

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Keeps Smiling j 

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Each contains an amusing and in¬ 
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colour. Prices 1/9 and 1/6. 


By Mary Moore. Two new supple¬ 
mentary readers certain to appeal to 
the younger reader. Illustrated in 
colour. Prices 2/- and 2/4. 

The Windward 
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By Ronald Syme. A colourful book 
on the people and scenery of the Wind¬ 
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162 


THE NEW ERA 


Sept.-Oct. 1953 


HEINEMANN 


Schools Aren’t What They Were 

CARLETON WASHBURNE 

With a Preface by Professor J. W. Tibbie 

Few people know more about the progressive education movement throughout the world than 
Professor Washburne. He knew the pioneers of the movement in America; was for many years 
Director of the Winnetka schools in Chicago; reorganised the schools and universities of Italy 
after the war; and is President of the New Education Fellowship. 

Out of his experience, and to answer many of the questions that have been put to him, he has 
written this book. It gives a clear and simple exposition of the aims of modern educational 
methods, and how they are put into practice. 

It would be hard to find a more succinct, readable, and convincing account of progressive 
education. To parents it will be of great value, reassuring the doubtful and helping to convert 
the sceptical. To all engaged in education it will give new stimulus and inspiration. 

Ready now. 7s. 6 d. net. 


99 GREAT RUSSELL STREET, W.C.l 


for whom ‘to be practical was to be 
scientific and religious’. The sub¬ 
sequent record of these schools is 
considered by Dr. Stewart in respect 
of finance, staffing, curriculum, govern¬ 
ment, punishment, ideals and co¬ 
education. 

Although Dr. Stewart's view that 
the Friends’ had by the nineteenth 
century become an essentially middle- 
class group perhaps needs more 
detailed analysis to be helpful in ex¬ 
planation, it is clear that their 
educational effort had contributed in¬ 
directly to the development of many, 
at least, of the so-called bourgeois 
virtues, to which reference is made. 
The fact that the Quaker schools, now 
of independent grammar boarding 
school type, cater largely for a socially 
privileged as well as religious minority, 
is of concern to those who feel the need 
for Quaker ideals and attitudes to be 
more deeply knit into our national 
life. 

In the expansive Victorian era the 
Quakers became less of a peculiar 
people and their schools less narrowly 
utilitarian. Dr. Stewart explains this 
in the perspective, not only of the 
contemporary climate of opinion, but 
also of the whole complex of formative 
social, economic and educational in¬ 
fluences at work in our national life. 
While he presents the emergence of 


the Quaker community in the seven¬ 
teenth century quite properly against 
the general development of a mystical 
and empirical outlook, not bound by 
the Authority of Church or Bible, he 
is little concerned to consider the 
changing social or regional composition 
of this anti-authoritarian and in¬ 
dividualist movement. Neither does 
he consider the evidence which suggests 
that, in the period of James Naylor, 
‘quaking’ could be equated with 
‘levelling’, and that the Friends 
became a politically acquiescent min¬ 
ority sect on pacifist and quietist lines 
only after the Restoration. 

In the Quaker schools for poorer 
children purely aesthetic and intellec¬ 
tual pursuits were at first suspect, and 
learning, as well as politics, was felt to 
be irrelevant to piety. This led to a 
concentration on moral and practical 
teaching, and to a certain neglect, not 
only of the imaginative arts, but also 
of classical, historical and other 
humane studies, except when it was 
found possible to adapt them to 
Quaker ideals. I^ater, abhorrence of 
the modern industrial world was over¬ 
come and efforts w r ere made to 
liberalize the curriculum and to make 
qualified use of ideas developed both 
in Public and in Progressive schools. 
Dr. Stewart notes that modern Quaker 
education has often been in the lead, 


and instances its early interest in 
teacher training and the education of 
girls; in the natural sciences, local 
surveys and civic studies; in speech 
training and the crafts; and in 
education in religion conceived as a 
social experience rather than a subject 
of instruction. 

It is curious that, while hatred of 
violence has marked the Quaker social 
outlook, corporal and other harsh 
punishments, despite individual pro¬ 
tests, long persisted in Quaker schools 
until better staffing, amenities and 
curricula enabled more enlightened 
methods to be adopted. Throughout, 
the evidence of old pupils shows that, 
despite their special pietism, the 
human history of Quaker schools has 
much in common with that of other 
contemporary schools. 

Whether we are interested in the 
relation between vocational and cul¬ 
tural education, the development of a 
realistic content and a democratic 
organization in an education geared to 
moral or social ideals, the proper 
curriculum for the less academic, the 
conflict of values between school and 
society, or the future of independent 
or co-educational schools, we can find 
much valuable material for reflectio" 
in Dr. Stewart’s comprehensive a’ 
well-documented record of the 







Sept.-Oct. 1953 


BOOK REVIEWS 


163 


DRYAD GRAFT BOOKS 

ARE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THE SCHOOL LIBRARY 

THIS WELL KNOWN RANGE OE BOOKS AND LEAFLETS COVERS 
ALL THE REAL SCHOOL CRAFTS INCLUDING WEAVING, BOOKBINDING, 
NEEDLEWORK, MODELLING, POTTERY, WOODEN TOY MAKING, 
GANEWORK, RUSHWORK, LINO PRINTING, COLOURED PAPER WORK, 
STENCILLING, WOOD CARVING & ENGRAVING AND MANY OTHERS 
FOR OVER THIRTY YEARS THE NAME DRYAD HAS BEEN 
SYNONYMOUS WITH FIRST CLASS INSTRUCTION IN CRAFTWORK 

1953 BOOKLIST POST FREE ON REQUEST TO DEPT. 65 

THE DRYAD PRESS LEICESTER 

LONDON SHOWROOM 22 BLOOMSBURY STREET , W.C.1 


perience of Quaker schools in this 
country. 

W. E. Payne 

Healthy People. Cyril Bibby. 
(MacMillan. 6/-). 

In this book, Cyril Bibby writes on 
health for children between the ages 
of nine and eleven years. His aim is to 
show them that to live healthily is 
also to live happily—a positive attitude 
to health. The author considers any 
attempt to encourage this positive 
attitude to health will fail in the 
absence of proper home and school 
influences, and he therefore addresses 
three prefaces; to teachers, to parents 
and to the children. In these prefaces 
the need for co-operation between 
school and home is stressed, but the 
final responsibility for good health is 
layed upon the individual. Through¬ 
out the book this sense of individual 
responsibility is continually stressed 
and encouraged. Exercises at the end 
of each chapter not merely test and 
revise but suggest practical things to 
do, such as making a salad for tea 
based on the foods mentioned in the 
chapter, finding out where our water 
supply comes from, and keeping a 
health dictionary. Included in these 
‘xrcises are interesting riddles, cross¬ 
ed puzzles, code messages and 


missing word games that are so graded 
as to enable most children within the 
age range to test their mettle. Solu¬ 
tions to all these are to be found in 
the back of the book as also are some 
addresses from which useful advice 
and educational material may be 
obtained. 

The book is in four sections. These 
deal with ‘A Healthy Child’, ‘A 
Healthy Home’, ‘A Healthy School’ 
and ‘A Healthy Community’. Threaded 
through these sections the author 
presents the happenings of The Smith 
Family. In this family the children 
make their full contribution to its 
general welfare by cleaning their own 
shoes, bathing the baby occasionally 
and, yes, cleaning the bath after them. 
Their questions on how babies are 
made are answered by their parents. 
They are introduced to doctors, 
nurses, dustmen and other health 
workers, all of whom answer the 
children’s questions about their par¬ 
ticular contribution to the com¬ 
munity’s health. 

Unfortunately not every child has a 
home environment in which he can 
discuss without embarrassment how a 
baby is born, particularly with adults 
of the opposite sex. This being so, I 
fear that as a text-book Healthy People 
may fail in its purpose. But as a class 
reference book it would be a most 


interesting and useful addition to the 
class library of any Junior school. 

D. Robinson 

Natural Therapy. E. K. Leder- 
man. (Watts. 15/-). 

In this book Dr. Lederman, gently 
but firmly leads his readers, including 
the disbelievers the pill-and-potion- 
band, through that curiously un¬ 
chartered land—Natural Therapy. 
He writes, with humanity and wisdom. 

Orthodox Medicine’s scientific ap¬ 
proach looks upon the patient as 
determined by the forces of Nature. 
Nature Cure approach appeals to his 
sense of responsibility and shows him 
that disease is not something to which 
he is inevitably prone, but something 
that is in his own power to prevent or 
overcome. Natural Therapy con¬ 
siders the oneness and wholeness of 
the body itself and aims to maintain 
or restore it by natural means. The 
combined relationship of the natural 
stimuli—Sun, Air and Water, Diet, 
Posture, Rest and Exercise—are de¬ 
scribed in full detail. 

To the enquiring mind, and the 
patient who is tired of never having 
anything explained to him, this book 
brings a wealth of knowledge and 
provides a stimulus to apply this way 
of life to himself. M.J.K. 









Directory of Schools 


KILQUHANITY HOUSE 

CASTLE DOUGLAS SCOTLAND 

FOR BOYS AND GIRLS 3-18 YEARS 

Established in 1940, Kilquhanity House 
frankly owes its inception to the work of 
A. S. Neill, who now considers it in the 
direct line of his own school and that of 
Homer Lane. It does not, however, cater 
for problem children. In practice there 
is an attempt to combine the traditional 
thoroughness of Scottish education with 
self-government for the pupils. Activity 
methods are used throughout, and the 
teaching staffis qualified to the standards 
demanded by the Scottish Education 
Department, which inspects the school. 
There is ample opportunity for practice 
in all the creative arts. A small mixed 
farm is a fundamental part — as distinct 
from an adjunct — of the school. The 
diet is on food reform lines, though chil¬ 
dren do not require to be vegetarian. 

few : £ 150- £ 180 PER ANNUM 

H*admitt*r: J. M AITKENHEAD, M.A. (Horn.), Ed.B 


DARTINGTON HALL j 

TOTNES DEVON 

Headmaster: W. B. CURRY, M.A., B.Sc. 

A co-educational boarding school for 
boys and girls from 7-18 in the centre of 
a 2,000 acre estate engaged in the 
scientific development of rural industries. 
The school gives to Arts and Crafts, 
Dance, Drama and Music the special 
attention customary in progressive 
schools, and combines a modern outlook 
which is non-sectarian and inter¬ 
national with a free and informal | 
atmosphere. It aims to establish the 
high intellectual and academic stan¬ 
dards of the best traditional schools. 

Fees: ^210-^260 per annum. 

Scholarships are sometimes available, 
and further information about these 
may be obtained from the Headmaster. 

ABBOTSHOLME SCHOOL 

DERBYSHIRE 

( Postal Add r ess : Rocester, Uttoxeter, Staffs.) 

Headmaster : 

C. ARTHUR HUMPHREY, M.A. (Oxon.) 

Recognized by the Ministry of Education. 

A school for boys of 11 to 18, preparing for 
entrance to the University, and for business or 
professional careers. Practical instruction in 
art and craftmanship is an essential part of the 
curriculum, and walking, cycling, camping and 
other open-air activities are encouraged in 
addition to the usual games. The River Dove 
borders the estate, which includes a 90-acre 
home farm with T.T. herd. 

Several scholarships are offered on the re¬ 
sults of entrance tests held at the end of March 
each year. 

Prospectus and details of admission pro¬ 
cedure and entrance scholarships may be 
obtained from the Headmaster. 


BEDALES SCHOOL 

PETERSFIELD HANTS (Founded 1893) 

A Co-educational Boarding School for boys and 
girls from 11^-18. Separate Junior School for 
those from 5-11. Inspected by the Ministry of 
Education. Country estate of 150 acres. Home 
Farm. Education is on modern lines and aims at 
securing the fullest individual development in, 
and through, the community. 

Headmaster : H. B. JACKS, M.A. (Oxon.) 



Wychwood School, Oxford 

RECOGNIZED BY MINISTRY OF EDUCATION. 

Maximum of 80 girls (boarding and day pupils) 
aged 10-18. Small classes, large graduate staff. 
Education in widest sense under unusually 
happy ami free conditions. Exceptional health 
record. Elder girls can work for universities, 
can specialize in Music, or take year’s training 
at Wychlea (Domestic Science House). 
Playing fields, bathing pool. 

Principals : Miss MARGAKET LEE, M.A. (Oxon.) 

Late University Tutor in English. 

Miss E. M. SNODGRASS, M.A. (Oxon. 

PINEWOOD, 
AMWELLBURY, HERTS. 

Home school for boys and girls 4 to 14, 
where diet, environment, psychology and teach¬ 
ing methods maintain health and happiness. 

Elizabeth Strachan. Ware 52. 


ST. CATHERINE’S SCHOOL, 

Almondsbury, near BRISTOL. 

Co-Educational Boarding. All Ages. 

400 Feet up. looking on to Channel and Welsh Hills. 

Food Reform Diet. 

Usual Academic Subjects. Also Music, Dancing. Crafts, etc. 

70 guineas per term. 

Ralph Cooper, M.A., and Joyce Cooper. 






























THE NEW ERA 

IN HOME AND SCHOOL 

THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE NEW EDUCATION 

Laurin Zilliacus, Chairman oj the New Education Fellowship Conjerence, Askov, Denmark 


T he new education fellowship has sur¬ 
vived over thirty troubled years with wars 
and deaths and rebirths of its Sections, and 
it is still going strong. I do not believe that any 
organization that has no power and no financial 
resources behind it and no governmental support 
would survive so long and would continue to be a 
source of help and inspiration to thousands unless 
there were a common philosophy that united its 
members. I should perhaps make it clear at the 
outset that I am using 'philosophy’ in the lay¬ 
man’s sense of an outlook on life that is coherent. 
My first conclusion is therefore that there must 
be a common outlook that binds together the 
members. 

There have indeed been various attempts at a 
formulation in words of this outlook, some of 
them quite good—at least those of us who took 
part in making them thought so—but none of 
them really satisfactory. None seems to have 
roused much interest or played more than a 
passing role. 

If it is not on the grounds of formulated philo¬ 
sophy that people have joined the N.E.F., how and 
why have they joined ? Many members have joined 
through attendance at some conference to which 
they were attracted by its programme. Others 
may have been attracted by an article in The 
New Era or some other periodical, and, of course, 
very many, probably most, have come through 
interest in the work being done in their own 
National Sections. Once in, they tend to stay in. 

I conclude from this that our members are 
largely people who are trying to do something 
rather than to formulate or explain something. 
In the N.E.F. they have found others trying to do 
something along the same lines as themselves. 
They have found it helpful and stimulating to 
join together. In fact, they have found fellowship. 
So I think the basis of our membership is not a 
body of formulated tenets but an urge on the 
part of people trying to do something in education 
to join together with others in doing it. On the 


other hand, ‘doing’ is based on ‘seeing’ or on a 
view of things, so we come back to the question — 
what is common to our very widespread member¬ 
ship that explains why they are doing things on 
the same lines ? 

That is what I want to explore, and my first line 
of exploration is to go back to the founding of our 
organization. The New Education Fellowship was 
formally founded at the first International Con¬ 
ference, which took place at Calais in 1921. The 
people who took the initiative were idealists who, 
on the one hand, were not satisfied with the 
treatment given children in most schools at the 
time and, on the other hand, were shocked at the 
failure of an education that had led mankind into 
the ruin and slaughter of the first world war. 
They concluded therefore that a renewal of 
education was essential. They also felt that this 
was not a concern of one country alone but the 
concern of all. They reached their hands out to 
like-minded people in other countries. So you got 
the New Education Fellowship founded on the 
idea of fellowship that cuts across boundaries and 
embraces the whole world, and the idea that 
Education is not a finished job, the humble 
attitude that new and better things in education 
are necessary and will no doubt always be 
necessary. 

Next I want to explore the relationship between 
the N.E.F. and religion, because I think that in 
examining that relationship we touch on some¬ 
thing of importance in the N.E.F. outlook. Now 
we have in our movement Buddhists, Christians, 
Hindus, Jews, Moslems, and members of other re¬ 
ligious groups. We have agnostics — people who 
say ‘I do not know’ — and atheists — people who 
say there is no God. Obviously no one body of 
religious doctrine or materialist doctrine can bind 
all these together. It is, if you come to think of 
it, an extraordinary achievement to have welded 
into fellowship and co-operation people from such 
widely different beliefs regarding extremely 
important matters, and to have them united in 


165 









THE NEW ERA 


1 66 

as sensitive and central an area of human life as 
education. And now I am going to say something 
that I hope will not offend any of my friends in 
clearly-defined religious groups. It is this: the 
more severely and literally anyone takes his 
dogma, the more unlikely he is to join the 
Fellowship or to remain in it. Let me take some 
extreme examples. Persons whose doctrine tells 
them that they may not eat together with people 
outside of their particular religious group because 
that would make them unclean and unacceptable 
to God would find it difficult to join our con¬ 
ferences; people who belong to a religious sect 
that tells them that dancing, music, drama or 
other forms of entertainment are sinful could 
hardly take part in many of our discussions and 
activities; and people whose doctrine tells them 
that it is sinful to do almost anything on Saturday 
would miss a great deal of our conferences. All 
these are obvious practical difficulties, but there 
seem to me to be just as great difficulties and just 
as effective barriers in matters of the mind if you 
adhere to too narrow or severe religious doctrines. 
Having said this, I now want to say something 
that I hope will not offend my friends in the 
group that has an atheistic outlook. It is this: 
I can find no better word to describe something 
vital in the common N.E.F. outlook that the 
word ‘religious’. Let me explain. 

As I look around our membership and founders 
and at prominent representatives of the New 
Education, indeed, for that matter, as I look 
into myself, I see that we are people who are 
seeking to understand the place of man in the 
world, or rather in the whole universal scheme of 
things, and that we are people who find our 
fundamental inspiration through serving what in 
the course of this seeking we come to feel is some 
purpose, some meaning behind it all. To put it 
another way, we find our inspiration in sinking 
ourselves in the great adventure of mankind 
down the centuries. 

I hose who believe in a personal deity will 
phrase this outlook in one way, the agnostic and 
atheist in another. The theist will say: ‘What 
we are trying to do is to seek to understand God’s 
creation, to find His will with mankind and to 
serve it. Iranslated to a practical plane, this 
always seems to mean serving what he conceives 
to be the advance of mankind. The non-theist 
might phrase it as follows: I am seeking to under¬ 
stand my place, the place of man in the whole of 


November 1953 

life, and I find my inspiration and ultimate 
motivation in making my contribution to the 
whole stream of life, playing my part in helping 
to enrich it and make it grow more individualized 
in its manifold expressions.’ Both meet in an 
attitude of humility and reverence for life, in 
regarding their own self-perfection as possible 
only by sinking themselves in the bigger whole, 
and indeed in regarding the meaning of self as 
non-existent escept in relation to the whole. 
Such an outlook might, of course, be called 
idealistic and left at that, but this w'ord ‘idealistic’ 
has for me so many controversial associations 
that I am not quite satisfied with it. In my use 
of words, ‘religious’ covers it better. 

I am next going to explore, necessarily some¬ 
what superficially, the outlook of N.E.F. people 
as I know them in regard to education. Our 
members are not only drawn from different 
religious groups. They are drawn from different 
professional groups and geographical locations. 
We have parents, we have teachers in all forms of 
educational institutions serving all ages and 
stages. We have administrators, health and social 
workers, doctors, psychologists, sociologists, and 
a host of others. We have people living in diverse 
economic and social conditions and working in 
different school systems and problems. There 
must therefore be a wide range of specific educa¬ 
tional interests among our membership. They 
w r ill have different answers to the question ‘What 
do we want as the next step ?' Some will say: 
‘Until we can relieve the secondary school of the 
burden of academic examinations we cannot do 
any really fruitful educational w'ork.' Others will 
say: ‘Until we can provide play schools or kinder¬ 
gartens we have no right basis for education’ and 
others will say: ‘Until we grant more freedom in 
the school, freedom for the child to make choices 
and participate in running its life, we will not 
develop sound citizens.' Others will say: Your 
freedom means nothing compared to the basic 
task of giving food and shelter to children. To 
starving children your freedom means as much 
as it means to a blind man to give him the 
freedom to choose tickets either to an art 
exhibition or a fashion show.’ 

Listing a series of aims and objectives in educa¬ 
tion that will satisfy all our members is therefore 
a difficult task. You will not find any member 
who objects to giving children enough food to 
keep healthy, but in Denmark I do not think you 


November 1953 


THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE NEW EDUCATION 


would list that as a No. 1 problem of schools. 
If you did so, your list would not have much ap¬ 
peal, just as some other objectives would not 
have a strong appeal in some other country. 
But the very fact that our membership is drawn 
from so wide a field and that the specific educa¬ 
tional needs and problems are so varied has 
contributed to another element in the N.E.F. 
educational view. That view is that education 
is a whole. No detailed problem in education can 
be effectively dealt with unless you see it in 
relation to the whole educational problem; and 
the whole educational problem, as is now clear 
to all of us, includes all that affects the growth 
and development of children rather than what 
happens within school walls. So seeing education 
as a whole is a definite part of the N.E.F. outlook 
and our organization has played an important 
role in throwing bridges from one part of the 
educational field to another. We bring together 
in common fellowship and study teachers from 
parts of educational systems that normally 
organize in separate groups and often do not 
understand each other very well. The N.E.F. 
view that education is a whole problem extends 
of course beyond national boundaries. It is, 
I think, a part of our concepts that you cannot 
solve educational problems, which are so much 
bound up with the life of society, in one part of 
the world and leave other parts of the world out. 
The educational problem is a world problem. 

I should now like to explore, still on a rather 
superficial level, certain more specific attitudes 
towards the educational problem and attempt 
to find common elements behind them. Let us 
recall some New Education practices that are, 
or have been, particularly prominent in various 
places and during various periods of our existence. 
They are perhaps best called to mind through 
the slogans or slogan-like names given to the 
schools practising them—the Activity School, the 
Free School, the Creative School, the Child- 
Centred School are four examples. The Activity 
School leapt into prominence when it became 
part of the New Education view that the educa¬ 
tional process is active and not passive. Where 
the child previously learnt by heart a set pensum 
from a given text book, he now absorbed know¬ 
ledge and acquired skill through working actually 
with a widening range of material from various 
sources. Professor Findlay of Manchester Uni¬ 
versity called this process ‘Turning fact into 


167 

faculty’. The Free School meant in the early 
days, above all, freedom from a martinet disci¬ 
pline, from conducting life by external rules 
rigidly imposed from without, and the attempt 
to substitute self-discipline growing from within. 
It soon also came to mean freedom from rigidly 
imposed method and content of curriculum, 
allowing instead some measure of choice for the 
individual and of guidance to the teacher by the 
interests of the child. The Creative School meant 
in the earlier days on the one hand a school in 
which some measure of creative work was given 
a place even in the traditional academic subjects, 
but it meant above all the introduction of the 
arts into the curriculum. That was an uphill 
task, the battle was long and hard and is still 
being fought in many schools and educational 
systems. 

The Child-Centred School is a name that 
summarizes these others. It was first coined, I 
believe, in Professor H. Rugg’s book on the 
various New Education schools he had seen. 
What he meant was that teachers were beginning 
to turn their interests on the child rather than on 
‘subjects’, and determining both content and 
method of what they found. The child-centred 
attitude led to scientific child study, to including 
psychology in the arsenal of the teacher. It led 
to a realization that individual variations in the 
different children are not just a nuisance which 
must be repressed, but are rather something 
which you must take note of, because it is the 
very stuff of personality. At the back of all this, 
or arising out of this, came the view of each 
growing child as an individual, as something 
unique and precious in itself, and something that 
had a right to grow into what was predetermined 
by its own nature rather than something that 
teachers or other grown-ups decided should be 
the end-product. It led to regarding education 
as a process of helping growth rather than of 
moulding to a predetermined form. Here too 
much has been achieved, but the battle is not 
yet won. The victory has perhaps been delayed 
by the lengths to which some schools went. 
There were New Education schools where the 
emphasis was so completely on the newly- 
discovered ‘precious’ individual that the child 
began to regard itself as perhaps a little too 
precious, as indeed the centre of the universe. 

There was a corrective to that in the other pole 
of education, which came into force parallel with 




THE NEW EH A 


November 1953 


168 

the discovery of the individual. This was the 
recognition that society has a stake in educa¬ 
tion. The educator acknowledged the demands 
and needs of society as well as the demands and 
needs of the growing individual. In the earlier 
days this meant taking a more enlightened view 
of many of the traditional subjects. Sir Percy 
Nunn put the view persuasively in speaking of 
the content of education as being the great 
achievements of mankind through the centuries, 
the streams of creative activity that have pro¬ 
duced bodies of knowledge, skill, awareness, and 
understanding in various fields. One of the de¬ 
mands of society on the rising generation was 
undoubtedly considered to be that they carry 
on the cultural heritage. Personally I think this 
was a valuable element in education. What has 
inspired man to the greatest mental effort and 
devoted toil is no poor criterion in choosing 
material for some stages of education. Recogni¬ 
tion of the demands of society also meant, of 
course, the idea of preparing for citizenship and 
trying to produce informed and socially respon¬ 
sible adults. But this social view of education 
was not only founded on consideration for the 
needs of society, but also for the needs of the 
child. It had become obvious that the child is a 
social being, needing relations to its fellows and 
society, and is not a harmoniously developed 
person unless this side too has had attention. 

In more recent years psychological study and a 
general increase in awareness and sensitivity of 
those who are interested in education have led 
to a somewhat more profound conception than 
that of various ‘sides’ that need to be catered for 
in education. Freedom we now see not only as 
freedom from various restrictions but as liberation 
of energy from deep sources, such liberation 
coming both through the removal of internal 
barriers in the psyche and through the individual’s 
finding new means to express himself. That, of 
course, leads once more to the question of art and 
education. We no longer regard art as just one 
other side of child nature which must be given 
a chance of development, one more need to be 
supplied in addition to others. We are coming 
to look on art, or rather on creativeness, as basic 
to human growth. We see that to nourish sources 
of imagination and liberate its expression is 
something of central importance to the individual. 

Through creative activity the individual not 
only finds himself, he reconstructs his own person¬ 
ality and becomes himself, a unique being. This 


way, too, his freedom; to be, rather than to copy 
or reflect, is surely to win freedom. But the process 
does not take place in isolation. We have come 
to see that the development of the unique and 
rich individual, the acquisition of freedom through 
becoming yourself, is possible only in a living 
relationship with others, with indeed more than 
just others, with all of life. We have found that 
creativeness rises in intensity and increases in 
richness in a group that has become a living unit 
with mutual give-and-take. New understanding 
emerges and new energies are freed, new creation 
results. It is as though, when group relations 
were right, some common source of energy and 
inspiration were tapped, as though we met each 
other on a deeper plane and drew nourishment 
from each other. 

We have in this Conference had experience of 
the fact that in creative work in groups, 2 plus 2 
does not equal 4 but 5, 6, or even 7, which is a 
holy number. The view is thus now becoming a 
part of the N.E.F. outlook that the individual 
and society are one, as the leaves and the vine. 
Neither is possible without the other, each pro¬ 
duces the other. We regard life as individualized 
but as having every least part of it in a vital 
relationship with all the rest. We realize that 
there are no bars, no sharp boundaries in the 
living world, indeed not in the mineral world 
either. There is no break in continuity. There is 
certainly no break in human continuity at 
whatever boundaries politicians or generals may 
have drawn. That is, I think, our view' of life and, 
therefore, of education. 

Does all this add up to a philosophy ? It 
certainly does not add up to a body of doctrine 
that can be used as a test of admission to the 
New' Education Fellowship. It often lies below' 
the level of conscious thinking. It is more an 
attitude towards life than a body of philosophical 
doctrine. But it has an intellectual content that 
can at least be indicated in words whether I have 
succeeded in doing so or not. The various parts 
of that intellectual content do, I think, hold 
together well enough to be called a coherent 
outlook on life. 

* * * 

[This was the Chairman s main lecture at the 
International Conference of the New Education 
Fellowship at Askov, Denmark, August, 1953. 
Some particulars of the Conference and Miss 
M. L. Hourd’s admirable commentary wall be 
found on pp. 184-186 of this issue.—E dJ 


PSYCHOLOGICAL ‘CLIMATES’ AND THE 

NEW EDUCATION 


Mary Swainson , Lecturer in Education , 

T his number of The New Era contains 
accounts of two experiments in the educa¬ 
tional and vocational guidance of secondary 
modern school pupils. 1 From them it is clear 
that achievement depends on subtle emotional 
‘climates’, so that if we want to raise standards 
we must raise the quality of human relationships. 

In this introductory paper I am concerned to 
look at some basic psychological climates in 
schools and colleges and in particular at those in 
which the New Education can, or cannot, flourish. 
Teaching methods, whether ‘new’ or ‘old’, are but 
the outward manifestation of the interaction of 
minds, conscious and unconscious; indeed, to be 
effective, methods must derive straight from the 
deeper convictions and attitudes of the teaching 
staff. If a discrepancy should exist between inner 
attitude and overt method as, for instance, when 
the letter without the spirit of democratic activity 
operates in a learning situation, then the level of 
achievement will probably suffer. It is this 
discrepancy that justifies so much of the current 
criticism of modern methods. But critics should 
take care to distinguish between abuse of the New 
Education by incompetent teachers and the 
operation of its principles in a fitting ‘climate’. 

Psychological Climates unfavourable to the 
New Education 

During experience of five years in a Training 
College and seven in two University Education 
Departments, I have found the following examples 
of attitudes that make the New Education 
impossible: 

(a) In Schools 

(i) The teacher who told me wearily, ‘Oh, the 
Inspectors want activity, so we must lay 
it on, but in my opinion . . .’ 

(ii) A class mistress who believed whole¬ 
heartedly in the principles. ‘But it is no 
good trying to put them into practice 
because the Head is against them and 
will spoil everything.’ (Many unsuccess¬ 
ful attempts were made in this school to 
introduce democratic methods into one 

1 The Secondary Modern School caters for about 70% of English boys 
and girls between ii and 15 who have not been selected for Secondary 
Grammar or Technical Schools. 


University College oj Leicester 

or two classrooms whilst the school as a 
whole was run as a dictatorship.) 

(iii) The lonely pioneer who carried out a 
project in her class but who received no 
co-operation from her colleagues. The 
children commented, ‘With Miss Y. we 
can work like this but with the others 
you would get your head bitten off.’ 

(iv) The Headmistress who was keen to carry 
out a large project which would include 
the whole of her secondary modern school, 
involving co-operation and team work 
among the staff. Most of the younger 
staff were willing, but the older members 
were frightened and hostile. The school 
was split throughout by a feud and the 
children knew it. 

(v) The master who thought activity was an 
excellent idea because he could leave the 
class and get on with his marking. (This 
man gave the children responsibilities 
that by right should have been his. They 
became bored, anxious and time was 
wasted. He could not understand why 
the Head told him that the standards 
of his class were deteriorating. Many 
lazy teachers unconsciously cover up 
their deficiencies by claiming that their 
particular brand of laissez-faire is the 
New Education in action.) 

(vi) The Headmistress who was over-anxious 
to impress inspectors and other visitors 
so that her school always had a wonderful 
display of results of ‘activity’. The staff, 
however, although believing in the New 
Education themselves, were frustrated 
and rebellious because they realized that 
principle was being sacrificed to ex¬ 
pediency. Any visitor who spent longer 
than one afternoon in the school soon 
realized that propaganda was valued 
more highly than education. 

(b) In Teacher Training 

(i) The young two-year trainee who was 
flung into a class on her first school 
practice to do a project. She had been 


169 




given some theory but no experience in 
her college course of the co-operative 
atmosphere that she was expected to 
establish in her classroom. She was 
already sufficiently nervous at having to 
face a class at all. The project went to 
pieces with adverse effects on the children 
and on relationships between school and 
college. The student was put off modern 
methods for the rest of her course. 

(ii) The more experienced student who was 
keen and capable but was confused 
because her tutors were clearly at vari¬ 
ance. A fundamental rift existed between 
education staff and specialists. The 
Education lecturer was anxious to try a 
project, but the History and Geography 
and Biology tutors would not co-operate; 
indeed one of them went so far as to say 
to the student, ‘It’s a lot of rubbish but 
since Miss X. wants it done I suppose we 
must do it.' This conflict between 
figures in authority caused lack of con¬ 
fidence and conviction in an otherwise 
balanced student and rendered the 
method ineffective. 

(iii) The tutors concerned were in favour of 
activity methods and the students were 
prepared practically as well as theoretic¬ 
ally. Within the college there was 
solidarity. But the school in which the 
experiment was to be tried out was 
suspicious both of the tutors — ‘theorists 
knowing nothing of real teaching’ — and 
of the new techniques. The tutor in 
charge, feeling that the prestige of the 
New Education in this particular school 
would stand or fall by the result which her 
inexperienced students achieved, tended 
to become over-anxious, to worry the 
students, to be afraid to let them make 
mistakes and even to cause them to 
realize that she felt ‘show’ to be more 
important than sound achievement. The 
students resented being used in this way 
as guinea pigs, became friendly with the 
more reactionary members of the staff, 
valuing their opinions more than those 
of their tutors because after all the 
teachers were the people on the job. As 
a result, activity methods were carried 
out half-heartedly and failed. 


p RA November 1953 

(iv) The children’s attitude will greatly effect 
an inexperienced student. If he should 
teach in a school where a rigid external 
framework has been the rule, the children, 
always prone to take an advantage of 
students, will despise him for being weak 
when he initiates freer methods. The 
waste of time due to the transition may 
set him against the new methods. Only 
if he is a particularly mature and strong 
student will he realize that this is an 
inevitable reaction, and so have sufficient 
faith to persist until adjustment to the 
new atmosphere is secured. 

(v) The basic problem occurs in the case of 
the student who, though feeling it ex¬ 
pedient to please his tutor, is not con¬ 
vinced in his own mind. After all, the 
old methods have justified themselves so 
far in his life; to them he owes his success 
at school. It is only to be expected that, 
once again in the school atmosphere, he 
will revert automatically to the techni¬ 
ques employed with such success on 
himself. 

The conflict, of course, derives basically from 
the student’s own lack of emotional maturity and 
particularly from his attitude to responsibility. 
Up to the present, unless he happens to have 
attended a school where progressive methods were 
employed, he has reason to distrust the willing¬ 
ness of human nature to work unless considerable 
external coercion is applied. The New Education 
implies a venture of faith that he is not prepared 
to make; after all, is he sure that he would work 
himself were it not for the fear of failing his 
Diploma ? He has never experimented with 
these new incentives in his own case. 

To summarize, the main obstacle to the growth 
of the New Education lies in its pioneer nature. 
Students, tutors and teachers are expected to 
put into practice methods and attitudes that they 
have not themselves experienced as pupils and 
therefore of whose value they are uncertain. The 
resultant lack of solidarity with regard to these 
methods and attitudes among school staff and 
college tutors causes lack of confidence and con¬ 
fusion among students in training. Further, most 
students, teachers, Heads of schools, tutors, 
Principals and Inspectors have not worked out 
intellectually, emotionally and socially the full 
implication of the basic principles of the New 


November 1953 


PSYCHOLOGICAL ‘CLIMATES’ AND THE NEW EDUCATION 


171 


Education. As well as being divided amongst 
each other they are divided within themselves. 
Children readily sense any division of loyalty, 
uncertainty, lack of responsibility or whole¬ 
heartedness in their teachers, and thus the 
methods fail. In reality it is the psychological 
climate that has failed. For if the staff of school 
or college are not living out the principles of the 
New Education in their individual and corporate 
lives, how can the pupils be expected to do so ? 

Psychological Climates favourable to the 
New Education 

Of first significance is personal attitude. 
Children react less to what we say than to what 
we indicate by our total feeling and behaviour. 
The tutor or teacher should ask himself, ‘Do I 
really believe in the principles that I am putting 
into practice, or have I some ulterior motive such 
as pleasing the Head, gaining promotion, and 
so on ?’ (Naturally, motives are usually mixed, 
but some conviction is advisable.) Next, ‘Why 
do I believe in them ? Is my belief a worked-out 
philosophy, clearly conceived intellectually and 
strongly supported by the impulse of healthy 
feelings, or am I driven to any extent by some 
inner compulsion to react against the repressive 
upbringing of my own youth ?’ (Again, few of us 
are entirely free from unconscious compulsions, 
but at least we should try to see them for what 
they are.) Useful questions for consideration are 
one’s attitude to the nature of the individual, 
to ‘original sin' and ‘original goodness’, to the 
whole issue of freedom and authority in education 
and to one's own particular aims in being a 
teacher. I do not suggest that an individual can 
come to any final decision on these matters; he 
will, we hope, always be growing and developing 
his ideas. He can well be in the position of keeping 
an open mind, experimenting with a new educa¬ 
tional principle as a working hypothesis, un¬ 
prejudiced and ready to be convinced by what 
he finds. Such an attitude works very well, for 
at least he will be facing the issues consciously 
and will accept responsibility for his own choice 
and actions. This mature outlook will give his 
pupils and colleagues an impression that he is 
rooted in himself and, while open to change and 
new ideas, he is not torn or crippled by unresolved 
inner conflicts. 

Beyond the individual, the social group. If 
each member boldly thinks out his position in a 


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IPSDEN, OXON. Phone Checkendon 221 


AUTUMN PROGRAMME 


OCTOBER 24-30 

OCTOBER 30- 
NOVEMBER 2 

NOVEMBER 6-9 

NOVEMBER 13-16 
NOVEMBER 20-23 

NOVEMBER 27-30 


Half-term Recreative Course. 

Hallowe’en House Party 

(with Square Dancing). 

(1) Painting and Living (Joanna 
Field and Harold Walsby). 

(2) German Week-end. 

Anniversary Party (and General 
Meeting of Members and Associates). 

(1) Craftwork for Christmas 

(2) The Psychologist of the 
Gospels (Norman Glaister) 

(1) Conference (Evaluation of Pro¬ 
gress in International Understanding) 

(2) Your Choice (Poetry and Music) 


DECEMBER 11-14 

DECEMBER 18-21 


(1) House Party for Members and 
Associates (and General Meeting) 

(2) Square Dancing 

M usic, Dance and Drama 

(Nativity Play) 


DECEMBER 18- Teenagers’ Holiday Conference and 
JANUARY 4 Christmas House Party 


Send a card to the Warden, Braziers, Ipsden, Oxon., 
for detailed programmes of the Conferences and 
Courses. 


mature way, the school staff will consist of a 
group of very diverse and independent indivi¬ 
duals; the greater the variety in such a group the 
more difficult is the synthesis, yet if it is achieved 
the richer is the value of this co-operation. For 
the New Education to succeed, the members of 
this staff group should be sufficiently mature to 
respect and accept each other’s differences as 
essential contributions to the whole. The children 
should feel, however dimly, that the parent- 
figures, even if different in skills and attitudes, 
are agreed on the fundamental principle of respect 
for the individual and are working together as a 
team. Further, the enlightened principles that 
are applied in the classroom should also hold 
good, allowing for differences of age and function, 
in the staff room. Above all, whatever attitude 
the Head takes to his staff, and the staff to him, 
will colour the whole psychological atmosphere 
and will percolate through to the youngest child. 

Teacher Training and the New Education 

As far as teacher training is concerned, the 


A3 





November 1953 


THE NEW ERA 


first need is clearly for quite fundamental staff 
discussion particularly between education lectu¬ 
rers and specialists. By working together in an 
‘education morning’ or on a special project, and 
by creative 'democratic deliberation’ 1 arising out 
of practical problems, destructive clashes in points 
of view can be resolved. Next, it is essential that 
students shall experience in a practical way in 
their own course the attitudes and techniques of 
the New Education. 2 Few will have attended 
schools at which progressive methods are in use. 
The majority, if they do not experience these 
methods during their training years, will go into 
teaching armed only with theory, afraid of prac¬ 
tice. At the same time every opportunity should 
be taken to discuss the idealogical issues in¬ 
volved, preferably each point as it arises, burning 
in the student's mind, from his painful or joyous 
experience. In this way, by the end of the course 
the student will have made at least some progress 
in sorting out for himself his educational philo¬ 
sophy and will know to a certain extent what he 
is doing and why he is doing it. 

Perhaps the best way of linking this training 
with teaching is to attach the student to a good 
school in which experienced teachers are carrying 
out modern educational methods in a suitable 
atmosphere. In most infant and some junior 
schools this is a possibility, but there is a great 
scarcity of suitable schools in the secondary field, 
particularly among grammar schools. 

A plan which has often been carried out 
successfully is to take a group of students into a 
secondary school in which the Head and staff are 
willing to co-operate with the tutor, interested in 
teacher training and not averse to experimenting 
with the new ideas. The following example is a 
composite one, but all incidents are true. 

During the introductory fortnight of their 
course the students have had a taste of the New 
Education as applied to themselves and so are in 
a position to make some transfer to the school 
situation. For the rest of the first term a group 
of eight students with their tutor visit a co-educa- 
tional secondary modern school for one day per 
week. In the mornings they have training in 
formal class teaching with the usual observation 
and criticism. In the afternoons they take another 
class of 48 pupils aged 14 for an informal project 

’ Stfc K. I). Henw and B. Muntyan: Human Relations in Curriculum 
Change. New York, 1951 . 

1 For detail* see M. Swainson : The Training of Teachers and their 
Mental Health,’ The \<w Era, December 1952 , p. 253 . 


on a local survey. Although for some purposes 
the class meets as a whole, for most of the time 
it is divided into groups, each group being 
responsible for one aspect of the work. On 
another day in the week ‘method’ discussion takes 
place, theory arising from practice. 

From the beginning, differences are seen in the 
structure of groups. Student A is lecturing to his 
group at almost university standard; they sit 
rigidly in desks while he stands before them. 
Student B is clearly an individualist; her group 
is scarcely a group at all. Each child is in a 
different corner of the room working away on his 
own. Student C has established an easy, informal 
group atmosphere; clearly he is leading the boys 
and girls to take some responsibility for they are 
sitting round a table discussing their roles in the 
work. I) has not prepared anything and her 
group is bored and confused. E is an extremist 
who believes in following every interest of the 
individual irrespective of the purpose of the 
project. His children are reading comics. (E 
will only learn by experience.) F, G, and H have 
vanished on expeditions. 

For the first week or so the students enjoy the 
freedom to experiment, but about the third week 
a reaction sets in and they turn on the tutor. 
‘What are we “supposed’’ to be doing ? Where 
are we going ? Are the children really learning 
anything or is this “degenerating into play’’ ? Is 
it right that they should w r ant to do things like 
drawing and making models instead of learning 
geography ?' A and D (for different reasons) 
consider the project method a waste of time. 
Most of the others are in favour of it, realizing 
how r much energy children will display w’hen they 
are really interested, and how much they enjoy 
individual attention to their assignments and 
working in small groups. B, strongly opposed by 
A, raises the question of incentives, criticizing 
external sanctions and aw’ards. E, whose group 
is by now completely out of hand, is somewhat 
subdued and w r ants to discuss the problem of 
discipline, particularly self-discipline. With very 
little effort on the part of the tutor the situation 
evokes all the major issues of educational rela¬ 
tionships and principles; by pooling their ex¬ 
perience the students teach each other far more 
effectively than the tutor could do by laying down 
the law’. There is considerable heart-searching and 
application of the problems to their own lives. 
What is the difference between w'ork and play ? 




November 1953 


173 


PSYCHOLOGICAL ‘CLIMATES* AND THE NEW EDUCATION 


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What is the role of a teacher or group-leader ? 
How much, and what kind of responsibility 
should children of this age and intelligence be 
given ? 

After this stage, much more co-operation is 
noticed between the students, and soon this 
applies also to the boys and girls who run from 
group to group for expert help, advice, co-ordina¬ 
tion of information. As the work gathers momen¬ 
tum, and formerly difficult, bored children 
become alert and productive, the teachers grow 
interested, the students ask them for help and 
finally the survey widens into a co-operative 
effort involving many of the staff. Towards the 
end of the term discussions among students 
involve questions such as, ‘What have we achieved 
and how did we do it ? Have the pupils’ attitudes 
to work changed ? Have we changed in our 
attitudes to children, to the subject, to teaching ?' 
The most convincing fact, of course, is that under 
proper psychological conditions the principles 
work, so that the faith necessary even to try out a 
hypothesis is justified. 

By the end of the first term each student has 
come to some conclusion about the New Educa¬ 
tion in practice. He is then in a position to 
attempt something of the kind with a whole class 
on his own in his main school practice, making 
modifications in techniques to suit his particular 
temperament and interests. 

Conclusion 

Teachers trained in this or in similar ways 
experience group activity in their own course, 
apply it to children, learn the value of co-operation 
and of mutual discussion of problems, and dis¬ 
cover that the attitudes and techniques of the 
New Education, properly applied, do work. They 
have the opportunity to live out personally and 
to think out objectively some of the deeper 
principles involved and to relate these realistically 
to the theoretical part of their course on Educa¬ 
tional Philosophy and Psychology. After this, 
they may deliberately decide to reject the New 
Education as unsuited to their particular tempera¬ 
ments, but if they choose to adopt it they will 
do so with considerable confidence, justified by 
experience, and above all with some backing of 
personal philosophy. They will then be in a 
better position to establish in classroom and 
staffroom that psychological climate in which 
the New Education can flourish. 






SELF-GOVERNMENT, STUDY AND CHOICE 
AT A SECONDARY MODERN SCHOOL 

1. 1. Bloom, Headmaster of St. Georyc-in-lhc-Fast Secondary Modern School , Stepnes , london, and 
Chairman of the Fnylish \ew Iducation Fellowship's Fducation Committee 


O ik school was just about three years old 
I when we were ‘discovered’ and I was 
asked to write some notes about it for 
The New Era. A month ago we celebrated our 
eighth birthday. During those intervening five 
years we have experimented much in an environ¬ 
ment like ours it is impossible to stand still -and 
although we have inevitably made mistakes, our 
School Pattern has grown clearer while remaining 
basically unaltered. 

The education of the whole child leads to the 
freeing of the human personality and can no 
longer be considered an academic whim; it has 
been proved necessary by scientific discoveries 
about child development. T he problem, however, 
is how, in the independent personalities so formed, 
to evoke the ability to co-operate and the readi¬ 
ness to meet the reasonable demands of society. 
We have never preached—or practised— laissez- 
faire at St. George. Rather have we set out to 
achieve a balance between personal growth and 
social needs. In the establishment of such a 
harmony lies the integration of the personality. 

We have not deviated from this educational pur¬ 
pose. In our practice we have naturally changed, 
learning from our mistakes, from the accumula¬ 
tion of experiences and from the contributions 
members of staff have made, through their under¬ 
standing of our purpose, to our combined thinking. 
(I am writing this article in the first person plural 
because once the School Pattern was established, 
all the planning within it has been the result of 
full staff consultation and agreement.) 

Community has been described as ‘the arena 
inside which the conflicts and accommodations 
of the individual with his fellows take place’. 
All the adjustments that take place will be 
personally and socially therapeutic if the atmo¬ 
sphere within the community is free from imposed 
fears (these, in schools, are generally, of authority, 
of punishment, of failure or the consequences of 
failure), if the climate is friendly, and if the 
children within the community can feel secure 
and appreciated. In such a milieu attitudes are 
educable through living experiences. 

I propose to describe briefly three facets of our 


life at St. George-in-the-East that evoke living 
experiences which tend towards progress in just 
human relations: our School Council, our School 
Study and our Elective Activities. 

The School Council 

The Council consists of two panels — the staff 
panel which comprises all members of staff, and 
the pupils’ panel which is made up of the Head 
Girl, the Head Hoy, their Deputies, the Secretary, 
(all of whom are elected by the free vote of the 
children) and a Representative from each Form 
elected by the Form. Each panel meets separately 
once a week; the staff panel has its meeting every 
Monday at lunchtime, and the pupils' panel every 
Friday morning with the Head Girl and Head 
Boy alternately in the chair. This panel may 
consider all school matters; it receives reports 
from the Form Representatives, discusses business 
sent to it by the staff panel, makes new suggestions 
for action and appoints committees responsible 
for the running of various activities. 

The Dance Committee is wholly responsible for 
the conduct of midday dancing in the Hall. The 
Meals’ Committee runs the breaktime canteen and 
is largely concerned in the organization of school 
dinners. The Sports’ Committees (one for the 
girls and one for the boys) organize playground 
games, arrange outside matches and look after 
sports equipment. The general appearance of the 
school is the concern of the Tidy Committee, 
while the Social Committee organizes our school 
concerts and parties and assists in the entertaining 
of our many visitors. A member of staff acts as a 
liaison on each committee. 

Every Monday morning Form meetings are 
held to which the representatives bring back a 
report of the business done at the previous panel 
meeting, and at which school matters are dis¬ 
cussed and, if need be, resolutions are passed to 
be dealt with at the following panel meeting. 

On the last Friday of the month both panels 
meet, the chairmen of all committees also being 
present. Reports of the month’s happenings are 
given by a member of staff for the staff panel 
and by the Head Girl or the Head Boy for the 


174 


November 1953 

pupils’ panel. Reports are also received from the 
chairmen of committees. Recommendations made 
by these various interests are considered and, if 
not adopted, sent back for reconsideration. On 
the Monday following, a full school meeting is 
held at which all the reports are read and 
Council decisions put up for acceptance. Always 
there is lively discussion, with, now and again, 
the defeat of the Council. This full meeting is 
presided over alternately by a member of staff 
and by a member of the pupils’ panel agreed upon 
at the previous School Council meeting. 

A constitution has been drawn up and ac¬ 
cepted by the school. In it I have the power of 
veto over any decision made by the Council, (I 
require this power since I am responsible to an 
outside body for the running of the school) but I 
am required to explain to an extraordinary meet¬ 
ing of the School Council the reason for my use 
of it. So far the occasion has not arisen. 

It will be seen that we, as teachers, have very 
little power. Nor do we need it. We are, by the 
nature of our work, in authority. Our School 
Council prevents us from being authoritarian. 
A large part of the school organization is in the 
hands of the children themselves, and the value 
of the experiences afforded by the School Council 
in responsible, democratic and constructive living 
is great. To the children the school becomes our 
school with a consequent enrichment of com¬ 
munity feeling. 

The School Study 

Looking for activities that are in harmony with 
the school pattern, we have tried out projects, cen¬ 
tres of interest, social studies. We have used them 
individually, in small groups and as Form studies. 
After wide experience we have come to the 
conclusion that, for us, the most effective learning 
is achieved and the keenest interest maintained 
through what we now call our School Study. To 
give full scope to the variety of interests among 
the children the theme for such a study must 
take the whole world for its parish—in space and 
in time. During the year ended last July our 
school theme was, Mans Dependence on Man. 
The theme was agreed upon in staff consultation 
and analysed thus: Man the Communicator, Man 
the Healer, Man the Producer, Man the Law¬ 
maker, Man the Artist, Man the Wearer of 
Clothes, and Man the Builder. Plach Form took 
one of these facets as its own theme, and divided 


175 

it up into group topics. The children worked in 
these varying self-chosen groups, making their 
notes, building charts, paying their visits, while 
the teacher proceeded with them as co-adventurer, 
stimulating them and acting as their ever-present 
help. The relationship between teacher and group 
is a powerful influence in the development of 
this study, and in sustaining the interest until 
the work becomes almost self-motivating. 

Once a fortnight the school met in the Hall to 
receive reports from children in each Form on the 
progress being made in the study, a member of 
staff taking the chair. In this way the school was 
kept informed of the all-round growth of the 
study, and interest in it was still further aroused. 
It was gratifying to note how these reports 
developed in length and in content, and how 
illustrative material was used to good effect. 

In the alternate weeks I invited a speaker to 
address the whole school on a topic relevant to 
the School Theme. During this hour the staff 
went into consultation, discussing the progress 
of the study generally, working out further 
methods of reporting and exchanging ideas for 
development. The minutes kept of these meetings 
I consider extremely valuable. They show that 
the staff had reached a fine understanding in 
relations and were increasingly able to take 
criticism from each other objectively. 

The year’s study culminated in a School 
Conference conceived and arranged entirely by 
the staff. I was asked to take the chair and I 
introduced the subject of conference. Then each 
Form teacher in turn resumed the work done in 
that Form in connection with the School Study. 
There followed the showing of Paul Rotha’s film, 
The World is Rich, which exemplified dramatically 
our theme. After Break, groups previously 
arranged in cross sections of the whole school met 
for discussion of the Theme and of the film. The 
children returned to the Hall when a representa¬ 
tive from each group reported the trend of dis¬ 
cussion. I summed up conference and brought 
the proceedings to a close. That the children 
were able to respond in the way they did was as 
satisfying as was the conclusion that the School 
Study had so justified itself. 

Our theme for this year is, 'The Brotherhood of 
Man, to show how Man has grown to become a 
social being. This time we began with a con¬ 
ference to arouse interest and to deal collectively 
with Pre-history; we hope to end with another. 


SELF-GOVERNMENT, STUDY AND CHOICE AT A SECONDARY MODERN SCHOOL 





THE NEW ERA 


176 

Of course, in this kind and method—of study 
there will be many gaps in the child’s knowledge. 
But, as Henry Adam said, 'What one knows is, in 
youth, of little moment; they know enough who 
know how to learn.’ ‘What is important,’ says 
Martin Buber, ‘is that by one’s own intensely 
experienced action something arises that was not 
there before.’ Our experience lets us believe that 
from our approach to the School Study the 
following values emerge: 

Curiosity anti Thought are aroused. 

By learning how to satisfy this curiosity chil¬ 
dren learn how to learn (through books, 
visits, interviews, chats, and so on). 

The living experience of group working is vital 
to the promotion of just human relations. 

Understanding rather than knowledge-collect¬ 
ing is achieved. 

The skills of communication are sharpened in 
purposeful situations. 

The order in which I have set down these values 
may be questioned, especially since we hold that 
without the skills of communication full living in 
a community is not possible; yet the order is not 
haphazard. These skills are practised and 
developed within the continuous working of the 
School Study, and the children’s growing interest 
in the study encourages still further their progress 
in the skills. The notebooks and charts produced 
by the fourth year groups would convince even 
those who would reverse my order of values. 

Elective Activities 

Our School Study, with all the search for 
information it entails, takes up most of each 
morning. To our Elective Activities we give four 
afternoons a week. (We have to omit Thursdays 
when most of us go to the playing fields at New 
Eltham; but this activity, also, is elective !) As 
the name implies the children make up their own 
afternoon time-table. This is our procedure: 

The children are told the activities which the 
teachers are able to offer them. The Form 
teachers, in private interview, ask their children 
individually to select about eight in order of 
preference. The combined choices of the school 
are collated, and, from the needs expressed, a 
time-table is drawn up offering various activities 
before Break, and another set after Break. Some 
are repeated many times during the week. As 
far as is possible every child is given his choices. 
The work of fair allocation of these choices is 


November 1953 

long and arduous for the staff, but its agreed 
justification is felt to be adequate compensa¬ 
tion. 

But, despite all this careful preparation, it 
may happen that there is a greater demand for a 
particular activity than can be met, or that two 
of John’s choices fall at the same time. It also 
may happen that we cannot supply the activity 
Mary had opted for on the day when she is free, 
and that she does not want any of the activities 
that are available. These are all honest difficulties 
which we make honest attempts to solve. For 
the sundry Johns and Marys we have, for each 
period, a Non-groupers’ Group, whose few 
members we hope either to be able to absorb in 
one of the existing groups or to include in a new 
activity. The point to note is that these are 
elective activities and no child is put into a group 
against his desire. 

While we do not wish unduly to influence any 
child in making his choices, the teacher does seek 
to guide him and to help him to as wide a selec¬ 
tion of activities as it is felt he can compass. 

Here is the list of activities — it will be seen that 
most of them are creative — Ait, Bookbinding, 
Creative Writing, Debate, Drama, Dramatic Read¬ 
ing, Fabric Printing, French, Housecraft, Italic 
Writing, Literature, Music, Mythology, Needle- 
craft, Pottery, Puppetry, Recorder Playing, Weav¬ 
ing, What’s On ?, Woodwork. At the children’s 
own request we have instituted a Maths, group 
for those who wanted additional practice, and a 
Special Reading group for the retarded readers. 

Need one elaborate the value and the joy of 
these afternoons ? Groups which are cross- 
sections of the school, meeting for their self- 
chosen activities, purposefully employed. Through 
the abundance of their creative experiences the 
children find an emotional release in an atmo¬ 
sphere that is sympaticos. And always with 
them rests the satisfaction that they, they have 
made the choice. 

Having to make a choice is an emotional and 
an intellectual experience of deep significance. 
Our children are presented with this demand in 
many situations — they choose much of the work 
included in their School Study; they select their 
afternoon time-table; they have wide freedom to 
arrange their comings and goings throughout the 
day. But what of the motivations that impel 
them to make a particular choice or to refrain 
from a proffered activity ? 


177 


November 1953 self-government, study and choice at a secondary modern school 


I have noted six reasons, any one or more of 
which are present when a child makes his decision. 
He may like the subject; he may feel that he 
needs it; he may wish to be with a particular 
teacher; he may wish to join his friends; he may 
decide that the activity chosen will make least 
demands upon him; and he may, consciously, 
have no preference at all. 

The reasons that may lead him not to choose a 
certain activity are no less valid. He may feel an 
antipathy to the subject; he may dislike the 
teacher who takes it; he may feel an inability to 
‘do’ the work and so dares not face the prospect 
of failure; he may have tried and failed; he may 
have had enough of that activity and wish to 
explore further; he may wish to give others a 
chance. 

When, therefore, we seek to guide the child in 
his choosings we are sympathetically aware of 
these many possible motives. We have sought to 
make simpler the act of choosing by providing 
‘sample’ lessons and activities, so that he might 
have, at least, actual knowledge to guide his 
choice. As time goes on and our children learn 
from their experiences we notice that their choices 


are becoming more realistic, and, selecting the 
work they want to do, they are prepared to over¬ 
come the obstacles to achievement. Herein lies, 
in part, the answer to those people who would 
ask, ‘If they are only doing what they like how 
will they be able to face difficulties in their work 
when they leave school ?’ 

I have described three facets of life at St. 
George. It must be remembered that these—and 
all our other activities—are but means. The 
School Pattern constitutes our design for living, 
and everything that happens makes a contribu¬ 
tion to it. ‘Until the entire school curriculum is 
consciously designed to contribute to the develop¬ 
ment of democratic concepts, and all other 
purposes are part of this major purpose, we will 
have failed to assume the responsibility that is 
ours.’ 1 We subscribe to this assertion, but would 
stress that the foundation of all democratic 
concepts is the belief in the uniqueness of the 
human personality, with, as a corollary, the right 
of the individual person to harmonious growth in 
his community. 


1 M. Lindsay: Childhood Education. 


HEINEMANN 


The South African 
Way of Life 

Edited by G. H. CALPIN 

For many years the history of South Africa has 
been a history of struggle and conflict. This book 
shows in a moderate and unemotional way how 
these conflicts have given rise to the present 
situation. There are chapters on the six main 
peoples of the country, on education, economic 
factors, and on political parties and institutions. 
Each is written by a leading South African authority. 
This book is essential reading to all who want to 
understand one of the trouble spots of the con¬ 
temporary world. Many Illustrations. 12s. 6 d. 


The Australian 
Way of Life 

Edited by GEORGE CAIGER 

This book gives a comprehensive picture of 
Australian life. After an introductory chapter on 
the Australian Nation by Sir Frederic Eggleston, 
there are chapters on family life, education, 
politics, religion, the economic pattern and 
Australia’s place in the world. 

From this authoritative and extremely readable 
book emerges a picture, not without self-criticism, 
of a virile nation whose importance in Pacific and 
world affairs grows yearly. 

With many illustrations. 12s. 6d. 


These are the first two books in a new series prepared under the auspices of the International Studies Conference 

at the request of Unesco 


99 GREAT RUSSELL STREET, W.C.l 













VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE IN A RESIDENTIAL 

COURSE 

Phillis BroiJ, Deputy Youth Employment Officer, County Borough of East Ham 


E arly in 1952, a fortnight s residential course 
for a group of fourteen-year-old school 
' girls was run by the East Ham Education 
Committee. Known as ‘Operation Shoehorn’, 
the course was held at Debden House in Epping 
Forest and was an attempt to prepare the girls 
for the transition from school to work. This 
experiment was encouraged by the luce Report 
and subsequent re-organization of the Youth 
Employment Service under the Employment and 
Training Act 1948, which recognized the import¬ 
ance of vocational guidance and the possibilities 
of research and experiment in this field by local 
education authorities. 

Entry into the adult world of work is often 
abrupt, and young people have many adjustments 
to make to their new environment with its 
different system of values and behaviour. Life is 
no longer sheltered, and the girl who sets forth 
proudly in her new status of wage earner is often 
disillusioned on finding herself with an insignifi¬ 
cant role in a complex organization. Preparation 
for vocational guidance and work is, of course, an 
important function of the Youth Employment 
Service and is carried out by means of careers 
talks and possibly films in the schools, and visits 
by parties of school-leavers to a selection of local 
firms. These methods suffer from two main 
limitations: (1) it may not be possible to describe 
or visit a representative range of jobs when the 
school time-table is already overcrowded ; (2) the 
young person plays the passive part of listener 
and onlooker in these situations and may be left 
with an unrealistic conception of the world of 
work. In the residential course it was possible to 
present a balanced picture of industry with ample 
opportunity for discussing the different jobs, and 
the girls were also able to gain first hand ex¬ 
perience in a ‘live’ situation at work. 

These conditions also enabled the youth em¬ 
ployment officer to make a more appreciative 
assessment of the youngster’s abilities, aptitudes 
and temperament than is possible in the normal 
way at the short individual interview. The 
matching of the school-leaver’s personality and 
the job is no easy task where the service is 
comprehensive and large numbers have to be 
dealt with. The time factor is at present a serious 


limit to the degree of investigation into the 
child’s potentialities, especially where there are 
prior problems of maladjustment within the 
family or school. 

The aims of the course, therefore, were three¬ 
fold: 

1. To enable the girls to learn more about the 
jobs and personal relationships at work; 

2. To develop the relationship of confidence 
and co-operation between the youth em¬ 
ployment officer and the girls, upon which 
depends the success of guidance, placing and 
after-care; 

3. To obtain an impression of the attitude to 
work of these girls, their hopes, fears and 
expectations. 

The course was run on similar lines to the first 
experiment in 1951 by Mr. H. Z. Hoxter 1 for a 
small group of secondary modern school boys. 
Using the experience gained, a few important 
changes were made for the second course in 
selection, programme, staffing and use of question¬ 
naires. Whereas the boys had all come from the 
same school and neighbourhood and represented 
a cross-section of ability, four or five girls were 
drawn from each of the four secondary modern 
schools in different parts of blast Ham, so that 
new contacts had to be made from the start. 
With the exception of one school which was 
unable to release pupils from its top form, the 
girls came from the two top streams of their 
schools. It was intended that each should be an 
elected representative of her school, responsible 
for telling the rest what she had learnt during the 
fortnight. In this way it was hoped that the 
course, inevitably restricted in numbers, would 
have the widest possible influence. A nominal 
charge of 12s. per week was made. 

The programme was planned and run by the 
Youth Employment Service with the collabora¬ 
tion of outside specialists. Voluntary organiza¬ 
tions such as the Young Women’s Christian 
Association, the Youth Hostels Association, the 
Central Council for Physical Recreation, the 
National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers, 
the Women’s Services, and industry supplied 
speakers, while the Loughton Rotary Club and 

• Psvehoiogv at Work, AugttM, 1951. 


ITS 



November 1953 


VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE IN A RESIDENTIAL COURSE 


179 


local firms made it possible for the girls to try 
out different jobs for themselves. Social science 
students from the South-West Essex Technical 
College and Bedford College for Women gained 
practical experience through acting as group 
tutors. For the successful organization of the 
scheme, co-operation with many departments of 
the local authority was indispensable. Data about 
the intelligence and health of the participants was 
provided by the educational psychologist and the 
school medical officer, and head teachers gave 
estimates of each girl’s general ability. 

The eighteen girls were divided into three 
groups, each with a tutor who was able to guide 
discussions and help the girls in their under¬ 
standing of the lectures. The easy relationships 
established in these small groups enabled the 
tutors to draw out those girls who tended to be 
retiring and passive at the beginning, while those 
who monopolized the discussion learned to listen 
to the points of view of other people. Friendly 
inter-group rivalry was encouraged by awarding 
points for dormitory inspection, efficiency in 
performing waiting and washing-up duties, for 
questions after lectures, success in netball 
matches, the treasure hunt and the scavenger 
hunt. Two members from each group were 
elected to a central committee which made many 
decisions affecting the daily programme and the 
distribution of various tasks. 

The programme itself was naturally arranged 
with a view to the special needs and interests of 
girls, but in contrast to the boys’ course, there 
was no sharp separation of those aspects of the 
course concerned with personal relationships and 
developing the right attitude to work (i.e. 
‘adjustment’), and those giving a picture of 
different occupations and their requirements and 
conditions (i.e. ‘induction’). This enabled a good 
balance to be struck between lectures, visits, 
actual job experience, films and leisure pursuits. 
The following summary indicates the range of 
topics and activities covered: 

1. Local background and industries. 

2. Occupations —in offices, shops, hospitals, 
nurseries, laundries, Women’s Services, 
needle trades, hairdressing, domestic service. 

3. Relationships at work —‘fellow-workers’; 
charge-hand; Works Manager; Shop 
Steward; Trades Unions; Personnel Officer. 

4. Personal problems —including discussion of 
boy-friends and marriage; budgeting; plan¬ 
ing and saving for holidays. 


5. Personal Care —‘grooming’; dress; care of 
skin and hair; suitability of appearance for 
work. 

6. Use of leisure — crafts; dancing; drama; 
appreciation of music; singing; table tennis; 
exploring the countryside. 

Despite the very full programme, enthusiasm 
was maintained at a high level throughout the 
course, largely due to the intrinsic interest of the 
activities and to the policy of alternating different 
types of talks with visits, other outdoor activities 
and leisure pursuits. When sessions were taken 
by resident staff it was possible to introduce 
some flexibility into the time-table where the pace 
seemed too fast. In the free time that was 
available the girls proved that they could well 
entertain themselves without supervision. 

Induction 

The purpose of the East Ham residential 
course was to give young people a foretaste of 
working life. With the collaboration of the 
Rotary Club and the employers of Loughton (a 
town some two miles from Debden House), each 
of the girls tried out two different jobs, one in the 
work of her choice and the other decided by the 
youth employment officer as a contrast. As 
fourteen of the eighteen girls wished to take up 
some form of office work, they spent their second 
working day in either a shop, a day nurser}q or a 
workroom. On the eve of the first day at work, 
the girls wrote essays describing what they 
expected or hoped would happen, and afterwards 
they gave a brief account of their actual ex¬ 
periences. The discrepancy between the two was 
not so great as with the boys. Nearly all assumed 
that they would be excited or nervous when they 
set out, but they were looking forward to ’work’ 
as an adventure. The more intelligent girls 
tended to be more realistic in their expectations 
of the job and the conditions of work, but all 
attached great importance to establishing friendly 
relations with others; in two cases apprehension 
was expressed lest work-mates might be hostile. 
As regards people in authority, friendly and 
considerate treatment was looked for, no doubt 
expressing the adolescent need for recognition of 
their personal status and significance. 

Their simple and circumstantial accounts 
showed that most of the girls enjoyed both their 
jobs, had good relationships with other employees, 
and made useful observations as to new processes 
or technical terms. Moreover, these reports also 






THE NEW ERA 


180 

showed with what kindliness and care the 
different employers received their visitors, greater 
perhaps than would normally be possible in the 
case of every new entrant to a firm. The girls 
were introduced to as many aspects of the work 
as possible and little 'output' was expected from 
them. This experience underlines the fact that 
successful adaptation depends to a large extent 
upon a sympathetic understanding by employers 
of the psychological needs of a youngster making 
her first break from school. 

Attitude to Work—‘Twenty Questions’ 

At the beginning of the course the girls com¬ 
pleted a questionnaire intended to start them 
thinking about the changes in their status that 
would occur when they began to earn their 
living. Twenty different situations were presented 
each dealing with an aspect of their new relation¬ 
ships with superiors, equals and inferiors (if any) 
at work, and the possibly changed relationships 
with families at home. The following are typical 
of the questions asked: 

If you were in charge of some people on a job and 
they were slacking, would you 

(a) Order them to get on with it ? (0) 

(b) Point out that if they did not get on with it 

you yourself would get into trouble ? (9) 

(c) Report them to a superior ? (0) 

(d) Pretend not to notice and do it yourself ? (1) 

(e) ? (2 gave independent courses of action). 

If you were dissatisfied with something at work (pay, 
hours, conditions, etc.), would you 

(a) Report it to your Trade Union representative ? 

( 6 ) 

(b) Complain to the manager ? (2) 

(c) Say nothing ? (0) 

(d) Look for another job ? (1) 

(e) Put it to your fellow workers and try to make 

them act together to improve things ? (9) 

(f) ? (0) 

What do you expect rises in pay to depend upon mostly ? 

(a) Length of time you have been on the job ? (4) 

(b) Skill ? (8) 

(c) Passing exams ? (1) 

(d) Changing jobs ? (0) 

(e) Trade Union activity ? (2) 

(«) ? (3) 

When you start work, do you expect to 

(a) Hand over all your pay to your parents and 

receive pocket money ? (9) 

(b) Pay your parents a sum for board and lodging 

and keep the rest ? (7) 

(c) ? (2 — ‘Consider suggestion made by parents; 

make a mutual agreement’). 

Other situations included reactions to unjustified 
reprimand, expectations about how they would 
learn the job; what they considered promotion 
should depend upon, and whether they valued 
interest, high pay or security most in choosing 
their job. As regards relationships at home, the 


November 1953 

questions aimed at eliciting the degree of parental 
authority and guidance in such matters as 
choice of clothes, friends and spare time activities, 
the time they returned home at night and the 
amount and type of help they would be expected 
to give at home. 

In order to obtain an idea of the range of 
occupations known to the girls, that is, their 
‘frame of reference’, they were asked to write 
down as many occupations as they could think of 
in fifteen minutes, and to state their first and 
second preferences. Allowance had to be made in 
totalling for cases of duplication where the same 
job had been listed more than once under a 
different name. The marks thus obtained were 
between 19 and 59, and on the surface there 
appeared to be some high scoring on the part of 
the less able girls. Examination showed, however, 
that this was due to separate entries for the male 
and female counterparts in the same occupation 
and for a variety of types within the same general 
occupations. When these factors had been 
taken into account, an analysis of the scores 
revealed a close correlation with each girl’s 
level of general ability. 

The jobs listed were classified into broad 
groups, for each of which a frequency distribution 
was made to show the types of work with which 
the girls were most familiar. These were clearly 
related to their personal experience and the 
occupational class of their parents. In the 
professional group, most of the occupations were 
listed by one or two only of the eighteen girls, 
with the exception of teachers, doctors and 
opticians, who were mentioned by 15, 9 and 8 of 
the girls respectively. Spelling sometimes pre¬ 
sented difficulties (for example ‘sachiatryst’). 

The relationships of the girls to one another 
were examined at the end of the course when 
they had had ample opportunity to get to know 
the other course-members really well. They were 
asked to say which of the girls on the course they 
would most like to work with when the time came 
for them to leave school, and, to give the question 
meaning, they were told that their expressed 
choice would be taken into consideration. A 
diagram showing the inter-relationships which 
emerged is given below. From this it is possible 
to analyse each girl’s position and status within 
the group, with respect to work. (This pattern 
would no doubt vary if some other criterion were 
used, such as sharing leisure, sitting together at 
meals, performing waiting and other duties.) 


VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE IN A RESIDENTIAL COURSE 


181 


November 1953 

Some idea of the extent to which new friend¬ 
ships were formed between girls from different 
schools and neighbourhoods was obtained, and 
with a knowledge of the personality traits of each 
girl and of the interests and values of the group as 
a whole, an approach can be made to determining 
the reasons for these patterns of attraction and 
rejection. This would be particularly useful in 
the case of the girls who are not chosen as work 
companions (‘isolates’), girls who choose each 
other (‘mutual choices’), and girls who do not 
choose the person by whom they are chosen 
(‘non-reciprocated choices’). Study of these 
might make it possible to help them to adjust 
more adequately to other adolescents and to the 
general social life at work. The girls with the 
greatest number of choices were in each case 
among the most intelligent (as shown by I.Q. and 
school record) and had high ratings for leadership 
qualities. Their fathers were in positions of 


greater responsibility than those of the rest of 
the group (Merchant Navy Officer, private 
caterer, policeman, Manager of firm of coke 
specialists, and grocer). 

Adjustment to Changed Environment 

The advantages of a residential course from a 
broad educational point of view are immediately 
apparent. Apart from the excellent training in 
community life, the course at Debden provided 
new contacts both with contemporaries and with 
adults from many walks of life. For most of the 
girls it was their first break from home and 
family. Many remarked upon the high standards 
of comfort both as regards accommodation in 
the lovely country house and the quality of 
the meals provided. 

Informal methods of teaching and ease of 
contact with the staff were possible with this 




KEY : 1st choice 
2nd choice 


*o 


D • 








































































THE NEW EH A 


Sov ember 1 953 


1S2 

small group. The educational value of this 
situation does not need emphasis, but the girls 
also were consciously appreciative of its advan¬ 
tages. The meeting with speakers of varied ex¬ 
perience and background, the visits to the hospital 
training centre, bakery, laundry and child welfare 
centre, and two days spent in different jobs, all 
served to widen the girls' horizons. 

These factors all combined to further the girls 
personal and social development. It is hoped that 
the introduction to so much that was new helped 
to foster their powers of observation and 
strengthen their self-confidence. 

Vocational Guidance and Placing 

No attempt was made to include vocational 
guidance interviews in the residential course. 
As time was limited, it was considered more 
desirable to get to know the girls individually by 
joining in their activities and to use this close 
contact with them in all situations as a basis for 
tentative assessments of their vocational possibili¬ 
ties. Impressions were discussed with the group 
tutors and the hostess of Debden house and a 
picture emerged of such personal qualities as 
initiative, leadership, sense of responsibility, 
sociability, co-operation and social balance with 
both adults and contemporaries, all of which 
would be relevant in their working life. Other 
information was available about their position in 
family, whether or not their mothers worked, the 
nature of their spare-time hobbies and activities, 
so that much material had been amassed by the 
time the school-leaving interviews took place. 
About half the girls left school at the end of the 
Spring Term, 1952, and most of the others left 
at the end of the Summer Term. 

The confidential reports completed by the 
schools for each school-leaver were based on 
daily contact with the girls over a period of four 
years or more, and so provided a valuable check 
and supplement to the earlier assessment of the 
youth employment officer. These reports covered 
health, general ability, educational attainments 
and special aptitudes, with further information as 
to character at the discretion of the head¬ 
mistress who, together with the parents, was 
present at the interview 

The notes which follow about a few of the 
girls on the course may give some idea of the 
value of the experiment both to the youth em¬ 
ployment officer and to the girl, particularly 
where the girl’s own initial choice seemed unwise. 


Carol was a hi# girl, overweight, with a poor com¬ 
plexion. Her level of ability in all respects was belo\s 
average and she seemed to lack the vitality for sus¬ 
tained interest or effort. Although good natured and 
easy-going, she had a negative personality and did not 
make friends easily. She was dependant on others and 
quite content to follow the crowd. Her aim when she 
cainc to Debden had been to obtain work as a nursery 
nurse and it was arranged for her to spend one day in 
a day nursery. She expressed surprise afterwards that 
so much hard work was involved and, on learning that 
she would have to study for examinations, decided that 
work with children would not really 'suit' her. She 
enjoyed her second day at a grocery store, but again 
thought it was hard work. From her description of 
these experiences it seemed that she was unsuited for 
work involving direct contacts with people, either as a 
nursery assistant or saleswoman, since she lacked the 
interest in others, the patience, and the vitality required. 
Carol had no hobbies and admitted to only one interest 

the cinema, on which she spent her weekly 6.s. pocket 
money. At the school-leaving interview Carol seemed 
to be mainly concerned with her probable earnings, but 
had made up her mind that she wanted a practical job. 
Her mother appeared very care-worn with the burden 
of bringing up a large family and complained that Carol 
was a lazy girl who always dodged lending a hand with 
the housework. Practical work which would not prove 
physically tiring and which offered good prospects after 
training was recommended for this girl (for instance 
l>ook-binding or leatherwork), but in the event she 
found her own job in the packing department of a firm 
of sweet manufacturers. Although this is purely 
routine, unskilled work. Carol seems to have settled 
down to it contentedly. 

Joan was quite an able girl who was not using her 
ability to the full at the time of the Debden course. 
She was generally a disturbing factor during the first 
week, irresponsible and unco-operative in her group, 
inattentive at lectures, and almost indifferent in her 
attitude. Her behaviour was designed to draw 
attention to herself -she was faddy with her food, had 
to be pressed to participate in discussions. During the 
drama session, however, when she was at last persuaded 
to join in, she went to the other extreme and was an 
exhibitionist. It was felt that a firm talk from the 
youth employment officer was necessary by the end of 
the week to prevent her disrupting the group. The 
suggestion that another girl might take her place if she 
was not enjoying the course or deriving anything from 
it had the desired effect, and during the remainder of the 
fortnight she was much more anxious to please and to 
enter into the spirit of the course. Joan wished to take- 
up shorthand-typing, which she had begun to learn at 
school. She had a good command of English and could 
write quite fluently when she tried. Apart from her need 
for further training for the type of work she had chosen, 
further education was desirable in this case in view of 
Joan's immaturity and instability. She did in fact 
remain at school until Christmas, 1952, when she was 
placed as a junior shorthand-typist in the City. 

Ann was a tall, slim girl with a very attractive 
appearance and personality. She was above average in 
ability and had, in fact, only just missed selection for 
the grammar school at the age of 1 1. She was an only 
child and had a good home background. Her leadership 
qualities were soon apparent at Debden, where her 
maturity, self-reliance and initiative enabled her to mix 
easily with the other girls and with adults. She had 
obvious musical talent and had passed several examina¬ 
tions in piano playing, but realized that she was not of 


VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE IN A RESIDENTIAL COURSE 


November 1953 

concert pianist calibre. She had sensibly decided to 
train in shorthand-typing, with a view to becoming a 
private secretary later, keeping her music for a hobby. 
Her working experience at Debden with a firm of 
solicitors and in a drapery store was most successful. 
Ann learned a great deal and enjoyed both days, and 
the employers commented favourably on her ability, 
good sense and charming manner. 

Shirley was below average in academic ability. She 
was well-grown. Compared with the other girls, and 
indeed judged by any standards, she had a great deal of 
pocket money (15s. or more every week) which she 
spent mainly on skating. Although co-operative at 
Debden, she had very little influence with the other 
girls and for the most part was left to her own resources. 
She was inclined to be boastful about her superiority in 
material things, such as her weekly allowance and her 
clothes. This, however, was probably to compensate for 
her lack of ability compared with other members of the 
group. She was very interested in craft-work, and was 
the only girl who freely took up lampshade or rug¬ 
making whenever an opportunity occurred. 

At Debden she spent one day on assembly work in a 
firm making television parts and did quite well, although 
she hastened to assure everyone that she ‘would never 
work in a factory’ from choice. The staff of the hair¬ 
dressing salon with whom she spent her second day were 
not very impressed with Shirley. However, this was 
probably because they were very busy at the time, and 
as Shirley was a well-mannered girl she felt rather in the 
way and did not push herself to the fore. At the school¬ 
leaving interview her mother said that they had dis¬ 
cussed the choice of work but Shirley’s enthusiasms 
waxed and waned so much that she would leave her 
entirely free to choose. Shirley was not interested in 
dressmaking or tailoring or millinery and said again that 
she would not consider any practical occupation which 
involved working in a factory. She was advised against 
nursery nursing since a long training and study for 
examinations was entailed and in any case the future 
prospects were rather uncertain. Shirley came from a 
good home and had an intelligent mother. Thus, 
although she lacked academic ability, she did have good 
manners and standards and was well-spoken. It was 
therefore felt that she would be far better in a job 
requiring good appearance rather than initiative. 
Accordingly she was advised to take up saleswork, 
perhaps in the toy department of a large store, or in a 
dress shop. She was eventually found an excellent 
opening in a good class dress shop as a trainee sales¬ 
woman. She has settled down most satisfactorily and 
the manageress speaks very highly of her good manners, 
willingness and obvious interest in the work. 

Betty was a girl of average ability with a marked 
practical aptitude, a very cheerful disposition and a 
delightful manner. She was a good mixer, always eager 
and willing to help, and showed a great deal of patience 
and perseverance. At school she was in a class with a 
bias to dressmaking. Her English, both written and 
spoken, however, was very weak and her accent poor. 
Nevertheless, at the time of the Debden course she had 
set her heart on becoming a G.P.O. telephonist. It was 
arranged for her to spend one day at a firm of chartered 
accountants, working with the switchboard operator. 
She was completely fascinated by the experience and 
gave a full and enthusiastic account in her essay after¬ 
wards, expressing disappointment that she had not been 
allowed to ‘work the telephones’ herself ! When the 
work was discussed with her, however, she agreed that 
she would not really be happy working all the time at 
an exchange dealing with people only indirectly. 


1 83 

The attraction of this work had worn off by the time 
of her interview in the summer, when she chose to take 
up nursery nursing. Betty seemed to be ideally suited 
for this, having the ability, the right temperament and 
personal balance. She was an older child in a large 
family herself, and the home was poor but loving. 
Employment was found for Betty as a student nursery 
nurse at a local day nursery which has facilities for her 
release on two days a week to attend the technical 
college in preparation for the examinations of the 
Nursery Nurses Examinations Board. 

Vera was a small girl of average ability, rather 
immature for her age and somewhat scruffy in her 
personal appearance. Her general manner was quiet, 
modest and retiring, but she was gifted with an ex¬ 
ceptionally good voice and when called upon to sing, 
would suddenly lose her shyness. Vera had had 
singing and dancing lessons for several years, belonged 
to a choir, and was encouraged by her parents to perform 
at local concerts. It was taken for granted that she 
should have a stage career. As a result she seemed in 
danger of over-taxing her voice, especially as she was 
already attempting the colloratura arias usually left for 
mature singers. This opinion was confirmed by the 
music specialist who visited Debden and gave Vera a 
private audition. Despite the warning againsts training 
her young voice, Vera’s parents were determined to 
start her on a stage career as soon as possible. On 
leaving school at Easter, Vera obtained clerical work 
with a Buidling Society for a short period, but left this 
to join a musical show which opened at a West End 
Theatre in the autumn and promises to have a successful 
run. 

In the foregoing notes on members of the group 
it is impossible to indicate all the factors taken 
into consideration when offering vocational 
guidance. Indeed, before advice can be given, 
the limitations of the work available in the area 
have to be accepted. Then, each individual 
presents a different combination of factors and 
circumstances; and while science and training 
indicate general principles of procedure for the 
advisor, the assessment made for each person is 
in a way intuitive, based upon experience. The 
youth employment officer, however, does have 
opportunities to review the initial assessment by 
follow-up methods. The youngsters are invited 
to an ‘open evening’ at the Youth Employment 
Bureau after they have been working about three 
months, and it is then possible to judge the 
degree of success in adjustment and progress. 
An open evening in the form of a tea party was 
held for the Debden girls at the end of October, 
and it was encouraging to find that all those 
working at the time had settled down happily in 
their respective jobs. However, the value of the 
residential course for vocational guidance purposes 
can only be assessed after a long period of care¬ 
ful follow-up of the careers of those taking part 
compared with those of members of control groups. 







INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AT ASKOV 


T he 1953 International Conference of the New 
Education Fellowship was held at the Folk 
High School, Askov, Denmark, from the 
‘2nd 16th August. There were 270 members 
present from 23 countries. 

The main work of the Conference was done 
through practical work in the following groups: 
Astronomy, Mr. C. T. Daltry; Mathematics, M. 
Hardi Fischer; two groups of Mime and Drama, 
led respectively by M. August Bal and Miss 
Marjorie Frances; two Movement groups, led 
respectively by Mrs. Astrid Gossel and Mrs. L. 
Langgaard assisted by Miss Wilma Koch; two 
Music groups — Mr. Bernhard Christensen with 
Dr. Sven Muller Kristensen, and Herr J. Wingcn- 
feld; three Painting groups — Mrs. Jeannie Cannon, 
Mr. Kikard Sneum and Mrs. Ina van Blaaderen; 
two Pottery groups Miss Seonaid Robertson 
and Mr. Richard Dunning; Le Texte Libre, 
M. Fernand Dubois; Free Discussion and Original 
Composition, Miss Marjorie Hourd; Interpretative 
Discussion, Mrs. L. Herbert; A Discussion on 
Tensions Between Groups, Miss Shanti Rangarao; 
Free Activity with Natural Materials, Fraulein L. 
Harder. 

In the late afternoons, time was allowed for 
seminars which discussed such subjects as 
teacher-training, the education of non-academic 
adolescents, pre-school education, and the psy¬ 
chology of modern language teaching. There 
were lectures by Professor Dr. Flemming 


Hvidberg, Minister of Education for Denmark, 
on ‘The Danish Folk High School'; Dr. Ruth 
Froyland-Nielsen on I he Mental Health of 
Teachers’; Mr. Martin Ennais of Unesco on 
Unesco’s Gift Coupon Programme; Mr. C. T. 
Daltry on ‘The Teaching of Mathematics’; Mr. 
Torben Gregersen on ‘Freedom in the Schools in 
the 20’s and Now’; and Mr. James Hemming on 
‘The Relationship between Modern Educational 
Principles and the Content of the Curriculum’. 

The group technique employed in this Con¬ 
ference is familiar to readers of The New Era. It 
has been described in the issues of November, 
1951 and April, 1953. This time we are publish¬ 
ing only the Chairman’s main address — The 
Philosophy of the New Education — and the 
summary of the Group Leader’s Reports by Miss 
Marjorie Hourd. 

No one who attended the Conference will soon 
forget the warm-hearted and most considerate 
kindness of the Danes, nor the beauty of their 
country, as shewn in the ancient township of 
Ribe, the heather-clad slopes overlooking the 
chain of lakes near Silkeborg, the well-built 
farmsteads, and the closely cultivated fields. 
After the Conference many members enjoyed the 
further hospitality of the Danes in the beautiful 
city of Copenhagen, where an interesting pro¬ 
gramme of visits was arranged by Rebecca 
Rasmussen. 

J. B. Annand 


THE TEACHER AND HIS WORK 

A Summary of the Ideas behind the Group Work at the Askov Conference 

M. /. Hourd , Author oj ‘The Education or the Poetic Spirit' y ‘Some Emotional Aspects of Learning' ; Lecturer in 

Education at the University College of Exeter 


T he aim of this summary is to trace as far as 
possible in so short a space the main prin¬ 
ciples underlying the group-work of the 
Conference. The way in which I present the 
pattern of thought that has emerged will necess¬ 
arily be my own, but the material for the theme 
is derived from accounts given me by Group 
Leaders and from the Group reports. 

First and foremost, there has been, as Dr. 
Zilliacus has already stated, an emphasis on 
the teacher as a person who can neither adjust 
himself to society nor educate and nourish 
children if he is himself a dissatisfied and un- 
harmonious person. At the same time it has been 
the general experience that satisfaction and 
harmony were not to be had for the asking, nor 


even for the praying, but by trial and error and 
by living through stages of anxiety and frustration 
until a strong enough design emerged for con¬ 
fidence to grow into achievement. The first crude 
shapes of pots — the faint charcoaled designs of 
the masks, the doodles and first experiments with 
colour and paint, clumsy unco-ordinated move¬ 
ments in mime and drama, tentative strivings to 
find words, and so on. Each person had to 
explore the medium of his chosen group until he 
began to recognize himself, his own stamp 
upon it. 

However, this triumph over uncertainty was 
not the result of a solitary struggle. He was 
helped by the intuitive guidance of the leader and 
by the leader’s knowledge and experience. He 


IH4 


THE TEACHER AND HIS WORK 


185 


November 1953 

was strengthened by his relationships within the 
group. The mark of originality was recognized in 
others, their uniqueness respected; so that in 
some indefinable way each member became 
aware that not only was he clay in his own 
hands, but that he was absorbing and being 
absorbed by shapes and forms within the group. 
This inter-action of the person and his material, 
of one person with another working with the 
same materials, revealed how, as individuality is 
gained and then recognized, the social unity of a 
group is strengthened, and yet the group itself 
plays an important part in this individual 
development. We have seen too that, as the first 
period of exploration moves into confident 
purpose, the work itself and the group relation¬ 
ships gain in complexity and richness. 

The part played by techniques in this evolving 
process has varied from group to group, but the 
general tendency has been in the direction of 
subordinating them to the vitality of ideas. In 
fact, it would seem as though the recognition of 
the self took place at the same time as mastery 
over the material and that Technique’ is the 
name we give to the procedure by which this 
occurs. It is this 'marriage between imagination 
and the material’ as Mr. Sneum calls it, that 
produces the integrity of a work of art and also 
its power to communicate. Miss Frances remarks 
that, unless self-realization takes place in the 
actor, the results are mimicry only, they would 
never arouse the passions in any deep and lasting 
sense. The potters say: ‘It is simple; the pot 
cracks—it won’t stay round. What feels good 
looks good—is good.’ Mrs. Cannon says, ‘unless 
the artist finds his centre within himself, he is as 
a tinkling cymbal’. Fraulein Harder has shown 
how, when natural materials are understood, 
they can take on tender, personal meanings which 
both bear the mark of their originator and also 
suggest the person to whom they might be given 
-the occasion they might celebrate. Mrs. 
van Blaaderen described the importance of 
putting pieces of oneself on the wall so that they 
would answer back and say: ‘This is you’; so that 
people would look at them and say: ‘It is he.’ 
The children’s poems that M. Dubois has been 
studying were the outcome of his intuitive 
understanding of children, and they communicate 
through their sincerity and originality. Failure 
in communication is due to a faulty union be¬ 
tween form and meaning which has not taken 


place happily because the true identity of the 
poet could not be recognized within it. These 
false notes are well described in the quatrain: 

There are roses in it, and laughter, 

And the grand Old Testament ring, 

But the high gods know in a minute 

That it isn’t the genuine thing. 

We see then that the artist’s understanding of 
his material is the result of a subtle union of him¬ 
self with it, and that this is bound up with the 
problem of human relationships and social 
integration. We cannot pretend to have fathomed 
this amazingly complex inter-relation—in fact 
we might say that this conference is a piece of 
research work on this very problem. The Move¬ 
ment and Music groups have provided a most 
important contribution to this research in their 
exploration, in very different ways, of the body- 
mind relationship which is probably the key to 
the whole problem. But as I see it, we shall 
reach no solution if we claim for any one form of 
expression Messianic properties. To do this would 
be to avoid the wonderful complexity of human 
evolution. 

We know that the glories of civilization have 
been won at the expense of much repression of 
individual needs and urges, and that tensions are 
to some extent an inevitable part of modern 
society. It has been the particular work of the 
three Interpretative Discussion groups to study 
these tensions in different ways and treat them 
from the psychological angle. Psychology is born 
out of the need to deal with the dilemma we have 
described. Miss Rangarao has looked upon the 
problems which arise between nations—(which, 
as we have seen in Mr. Fisher’s group, is also a 
mathematical one)—and between groups with 
different cultural and economic backgrounds. 
She has looked at the tensions on a world stage 
which Mrs. Herbert has studied more closely and 
microscopically in the unconscious layers of 
personality, but with a practical application to 
classroom and here-and-now situations. 

The interpretative work of both Mrs. Herbert’s 
group and my own is built on the assumption, 
which is constantly being proved to be valid, that 
the acceptance of truth at unconscious levels has 
power to change and modify attitudes and 
behaviour. And yet the unresolved conflicts of 
human nature which find expression on a world 
stage, by a kind of backward movement have 
their effect upon the deeper struggles of the 





THE NEW ERA 


Sovember 1 953 


186 

human psyche which in the first place brought 
them about. Thus a vicious circle is formed. 
By recognizing the close connection between 
individual vision and social integration, this 
conference has made a most courageous attempt 
to undo this vicious circle. 

But life is not entirely a matter of social 
reactions or individual fulfilment through art. 
l'he universe has its own laws and is governed by 
forces, the nature and extent of which we are 
still but dimly aware. The imagination reaches 
out to those infinitudes and tries to make them 
finite through reason. The Mathematics and 
Astronomy groups have shown how, if these 
sciences are taught by creative teachers, they 
can, in Mr. Daltry’s phrase ‘nourish the well- 
springs of imagination’. 

However, once we launch into a world of space 
and time, whether it is represented by the empty 
page and canvas or the crowded face of the sky, 
we become aware of our own insignificance 
and aware that when we are out of step with time 
and space it is because we have not caught up 
with it in ourselves and once more we are back 


at the beginning. And time and space have been 
problems both spiritual and practical in this 
conference, which it would take another one to 
sift and understand. There is at the moment in 
this summary the danger of formulating ideas too 
soon, of pushing them into frameworks and 
leaving so much of significance outside. Moreover 
we are aware of what we have not touched upon 
within the conference and we may feel that, in 
spite of the abundance that surrounds us in 
the group findings, little has been achieved in 
proportion to the great task which a teacher 
attempts. 

I)r. Zilliacus in the preceding article has 
traced the movement of educational ideas from 
adult-controlled classrooms to child-centred ones, 
and then to the New Education which this 
conference represents, where teachers and child¬ 
ren have entered upon a curious and paradoxical 
relationship, for they stand in relation of adult 
and child and yet there is within the teacher an 
adult-child relationship, so that education be¬ 
comes to adapt T. S. Eliot’s phrase ‘a common 
pursuit of liberation’. 


NEWS AND NOTES 


FRENCH -SPEAKING BELGIAN SECTION 

Our programme during the first half of 1953, 
interesting though it was to a chosen few, did 
not do what it set out to do which was to awaken 
a mass interest in the New Education, and it 
induced only a small number of our members 
to take an active part in studying the most 
pressing educational problems of to-day. 

This programme consisted of a three-day Study 
Course on the community-life of school children 
and the cultural relationships between secondary 
school teachers. I here were also five meetings 
in schools of different kinds, in which the pupils 
participate actively in their own education, 
and three demonstrations by groups of teachers 
who are engaged in providing cultural activities 
for school children: La Chanterie de Bruxelles and 
Les Comediens Normaliens. 

This programme was given wide publicity and 
many invitations were sent out before each 
meeting. Apart from myself, whose only part 
was to draw together our findings at the final 
meeting, all the speakers were chosen from 
among the most qualified and best-known 
practitioners of educational techniques in French- 
speaking Belgium. 

I he reasons why this programme had so little 
success and the means which we must adopt in 


order to remedy this state of affairs will be 
discussed by our Committee at its next few 
meetings. 

The second part of the year was begun by our 
series of delegations. Mine Van Steenhuyse, our 
Secretary for the International Plan, took part 
in the Conference of Internationally-Minded 
Schools at Schloss Salen. The theme of the 
Conference was International Understanding in 
Schools. M. F. Dubois was a Group Leader at 
the Askov Conference and also took part in the 
French Section’s Conference in Paris, anti I 
myself had the honour of representing our Section 
at the Copenhagen meeting. 

From September 3rd-13th we took part in 
Journees dc I'Enfance, de Jeuncsse et de la Famille , 
a profit-making exhibition organized at the Palais 
ties Beaux Arts in Brussels. More than 95,000 
people paid for admission. Om stand, which was 
in a wing reserved for social work, was not 
elaborate. We had a chart, 5 metres by 180 
metres, showing the geographical location of 
N.E.F. Sections all over the world, and a table 
5 metres by *80 metres on which we displayed 
the volumes of the New Education Book Club, 
a collection of N.E.F. magazines, and the publi¬ 
cations of our own Section. Many people asketl 
us for information and we distributed 3,000 


NOTES AND NEWS 


November 1953 

propaganda leaflets during the ex¬ 
hibition. I have as yet no informa¬ 
tion as to the practical outcome 
of this undertaking. 

Early in October we had our Ex¬ 
ecutive Committee meeting to 
work out our new programme up 
to December 1953. This will con¬ 
sist of a General Assembly, and 
three talks from our Section’s 
delegates to meetings outside Bel¬ 
gium. From January 1954 on¬ 
wards we shall be embarking on a 
programme based on recommenda¬ 
tions from Copenhagen and Askov. 

The New Education Book Club, 
in spite of all the efforts of our 
Secretary, M. Devaux, is not meet¬ 
ing with much success in our Sec¬ 
tion. Nevertheless, we shall con¬ 
tinue our efforts, but the fact that 
the books are published in a foreign 
language is certainly the greatest 
obstacle to a wide membership 
in Belgium. 

Our Section of the International 
Plan is at this moment assembling 
documents for an educational ex¬ 
hibition at Beyrouth in which the 
Belgian Section is taking part. 

Our news and views continue to appear 
regularly in La Revue Pedagogique. Our financial 
situation is not rosy but we have no debt at the 
moment. I hope to be able to give you better 
news in my notes of April 1954. 

H. Biscompte, Secretary 

BOMBAY SECTION 

On the 23rd July the N.E.F. organized a 
lecture by Mr. J. P. Naik on ‘Rural Education’. 
Mr. M. T. Vyas, our Vice-President, presided 
over the meeting. Mr. Naik started by pointing 
out the history of Rural Education which under 
the British was totally neglected. He also pointed 
out many defects in the existing educational 
system which is predominantly organized for 
city dwellers. He therefore pleaded for a different 
kind of education for the rural areas. The 
emphasis, he said, must definitely be on the local 
environment and on the living conditions in the 
place in which the education is imparted. He 
therefore pleaded for the special training of 
teachers for rural areas. He also emphasized 
that the education should be through activities 
of the local places, and that children should be 
made fully acquainted with the flora and fauna 
of the place. Though he has accepted main prin- 


87 





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ciples of Basic Education, he has made a few 
changes enforced by the conditions of the place. 

On the 26th September the N.E.F. invited 
Dr. B. V. Keskar, Minister of Information and 
Broadcasting, to meet the Executive Committee 
members of the N.E.F., The Bombay Head¬ 
masters’ Association, The Secondary Teachers’ 
Association. We placed before him certain 
suggestions with regard to Audio-Visual Aids in 
Education. We also requested him to produce 
educational films for children with the help of 
the film industry in India. We also proposed that 
the children’s theatre movement be encouraged. 
Dr. Keskar in his reply assured us that his 
Ministry will do whatever possible in this matter. 
He also pointed out the difficulties of his Ministry 
but he assured us he will try to help educational 
institutions as much as possible. He promised to 
increase the number of school broadcasts through 
All India Radio. The meeting was a great 
success and the teachers and the Minister of 
Information and Broadcasting were able to 
exchange useful ideas. 

The New Education Fellowship was At Home 
to the Fulbright Scholars going from India to 
America on the I3th August. Mr. Vyas, our Vice- 
President, talked to the Scholars, welcoming 




















THE NEW ERA 


188 

such schemes of exchanging teachers between the 
countries as being very useful in bringing about 
international understanding. 

From the Unesco Commission in India, there 
was a circular regarding History Text Books. 
Dr. K. C. Vyas, on behalf of the New Education 
Fellowship, sent the views as to what History 
text-books should contain. He emphasized that 
History text-books in India should be based on 
four principles: (1) tracing unity of India (2) 
stressing religious tolerance (i.e. the fact that 
frequently during the long history of India the 
State has been benevolently neutral towards 
different religions within its borders. For ex¬ 
ample, Ashok, who was a Buddhist, preached 
tolerance towards others and appointed as officers 
both Jains and Hindus; the Guptas, though 
Hindus, had officers who were Buddhists and 
Jains; and, during the Muslim period, Hindus and 
Muslims held posts without religious discrimina¬ 
tion. Akbar’s experiment in these matters is 
worth noting) (3) bringing about the principles of 
democracy, and (4) helping international under¬ 
standing. He said that these principles should be 
able to create a healthy atmosphere among the 
students through the teaching of History. 

K. C. Vyas, Jt. Hon. Secretary 

JOHANNESBURG GROUP 

The chief interest of the Johannesburg Group 
of the New Education Fellowship over the last 
few months has been to explore the possibilities 
of holding an International Conference in South 
Africa. As such a scheme requires long term 
planning, attention has also been turned to 
individual lecture tours, which can be arranged 
more quickly and easily, in order to help in the 
important work of spreading new educational 
ideas. Providing difficulties in connection with 
shipping passages can be overcome, we are 
hoping to arrange for Mr. Donald McLean, of 
Australia, author of Education of the Personality, 
to pay us a visit next August and September. 

Meanwhile in collaboration with the Division, 
of Adult Education (Department of Education, 
Arts and Science) we are in the middle of a 
valuable series of lectures on the Teaching of 
Languages by well-known local experts. Some 
of the titles of the lectures are: ‘The Teaching of 
Afrikaans’, The Teaching of English’, ‘Teaching 
the Teacher', ‘Comics, Classics, Enid Blyton, or 
What?’ D. M. Luckin 

VICTORIA (AUSTRALIA) SECTION 

How Children Live and Learn in Victoria was 
the title of an exhibition organized by this Section 
of the N.E.F. in March of this year. We would be 


November 1953 

inclined to agree with the South African Section 
that exhibitions arc not worth the money and 
energy, were it not for the fact that the exhibi¬ 
tion, gathered together as it was by groups of 
people, gave to many an understanding of the 
worth of ‘group experience’ to the individual. 
This coincided with the growth of feeling that the 
monthly come-and-listen-go-away-till-next-time 
type of meeting was not satisfying the needs of 
most of our members. 

As a result of these two things, we have since 
organized discussion groups and all-day con¬ 
ferences in place of regular monthly meetings. 
We feel very young in our efforts and cannot say 
with confidence that we have found the answer. 
We are enjoying the opportunity the discussion 
groups give us to discuss, think about, read 
about, the things we care about. We have not 
dispensed with speakers but have turned to 
experts only when we have a specific problem with 
which we want help. In this one aspect we feel 
confident we are on the right lines. 

An interesting feature of our Section’s activities 
is the high percentage of parents who have joined 
our organization and others who have asked us 
for help in forming parent groups for discussion 
along educational lines. We are confident that 
the more men and women, parents and teachers, 
one generation and another, people in one type of 
school and those in another, have the opportunity 
to come together and discuss problems, share new 
ideas, the greater hope there is for progress to¬ 
wards individual maturity and happiness. We 
are working towards providing these oppor¬ 
tunities — not a spectacular ambition but one 
which has our heart in it. 

We have recently provided the meeting 
facilities for the Australian Federal N.E.F'. 
Council. Delegates from every State gathered 
here and we were happy to act as hosts and found 
the contact warming. We look forward to our 
regular lecture tour next year when we hear news 
of work and ideas in other lands. 

From our corner in the South we use this 
opportunity of sending our greetings North, East 

and West. Nancy Sherrard 

* * * 

In future, each issue of The New Era will contain reports 
from five or six of the National Sections of the New 
Education Fellowship, according to the following plan: 

January and June.—Germany; Holland; Equador; New 

South Wales; Ceylon. 

February and July. — England; Norway; Columbia; 

S. Australia, W. Australia; Australian Federal Council. 

March and October. — Flemish Belgium; Scotland; 

Switzerland; N. Ireland; Queensland. 

April and November. — French-speaking Belgium; India; 

S. Africa; France; Victoria. 

May and December. — Denmark; Pakistan; U.S.A.; 

New Zealand; Tasmania. 


The Importance of Illiteracy. 

M. M. Lewis. (Harrap. 7/6). 

Students of illiteracy to-day find a 
bulk of material challenging their 
study, likely to dishearten even the 
most voracious readers. Several stan¬ 
dard works exist. A deep pile of re¬ 
search documents awaits their atten¬ 
tion. Articles and monographs are 
legion. Few but the specialists can find 
time to travel the whole road. We 
have, accordingly, long been in need of 
a book which would provide a really 
sound background for understanding 
the contemporary problem of illiteracy 
without making heavy demands upon 
the reader. Dr. Lewis has now pro¬ 
vided us with such a book. It has the 
added virtues that it is appetising and 
refreshing as well as being enlightening. 

Dr. Lewis achieves his objective by 
setting the problem of illiteracy in its 
proper perspective—as an increasingly 
important aspect of personal and social 
life. This framework enables him to 
avoid all the dullness of more mech¬ 
anical approaches. What he writes is 
vivid and satisfying because it is 
related to the living child and evolving 
society. In his initial statement of the 
problem, he writes: 

‘When a child learns to read and 
write, almost anything that disturbs 
him as a person is likely to disturb 
him as a pupil.’ 

That gives us the educational setting. 
He also writes: 

‘The number of those who can 
remain outside the demands of 
literacy is rapidly becoming less; 
the area of the population im¬ 
pervious to the pressure of universal 
literacy is rapidly shrinking. Now 
if a society raises its standards of 
minimum literacy, and calls every 
one below this standard illiterate, it 
at once increases the number of 
illiterates.’ 

That gives us the social setting. 

Thus armed with the right per¬ 
spectives, we are equipped to see our 
way clearly, with Dr. Lewis as guide, 
through the ‘tangled skein of facts, 
distortions, prejudices and anxieties’ 
which to-day befog understanding of 
the nation’s problem of illiteracy. 

Dr. Lewis devotes four chapters to 
examining the evidence that our 
standards have declined and to asking 
what the causes for such a decline may 
be, if it exists. History, we find, gives 
little support to those irate contempor¬ 
ary pessimists who delight in belabour¬ 
ing our schools for inefficiency in 
coping with the three R’s. ‘In 1874 
only 25 per cent, of the children 
examined in the “standards” qualified 
for grant; in 1880 the percentage was 
no higher.’ Such laments follow hard 
upon each other as the years pass, with 
but brief intervals between them. The 


Book Reviews 

H.M.S.O. publication of 1924, The 
Teaching of English in England, 
reports a witness as saying that, when 
boys came up to the Public Schools 
from the Preparatory Schools, it was 
‘necessary to begin their English over 
again’. And yet Vernon and Watts 
found Burt’s Graded Word Reading 
Test of 1921 ‘almost certainly too 
lenient for 1939 standards’. 

Gradually, under Dr. Lewis’s en¬ 
grossing examination, the real situation 
emerges. People have got things the 
wrong way round. It is not that 
standards of literacy are constantly 
slumping but that society is con¬ 
stantly requiring higher average stan¬ 
dards of literacy. Periodical panics 
are an inevitable feature of the slow 
progress towards building a fully 
literate nation in which ability is, for 
everyone, matched by attainment 
appropriate to the needs of his times. 

Let it not be thought, however, that 
Dr. Lewis offers his analysis as an 
excuse for complacency. The fact that 
many critics of our current level of 
literacy have the facts distorted does 
not one whit reduce the reality of the 
problem we have to tackle. Rather 
does Dr. Lewis’s approach make the 
task of dealing competently with 
illiteracy even more urgent. Society 
has a threefold task: 

To be in possession of adequate 
resources in the instruments of 
communication; to have effective 
mastery of them; and to ensure that 


BROWNS’ NEW SERIES 
Y.A. READERS 

Series A. For Five-Year-Olds: 

Two Little Pigs Henny Penny 

Hop O’My Thumb Dick Whittington 

Series B. For Six-Year-Olds: 

Beauty and the Beast Puss in Boots 
The Sleeping Beauty 
Snow White and Rose Red 

Series C. For Seven-Year-Olds: 

Cinderella Jack and the Beanstalk 
The Prince and his Six Friends 
Robinson Crusoe 

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as many members of our society as 
possible shall be adequately equipped 
to make proper use of them. 

We have to see the situation clearly: 
get the facts clear; get our aims clear. 
Once we have done that 'methods and 
techniques will quickly be found’ 
because we are faced with the reality 
that we can no longer absorb illiterate 
persons in our society. We are under 
a social pressure to rescue the sub¬ 
literate person, ‘the person whose 
mastery of the means of communica¬ 
tion is less than society requires of 
him’. We banish illiteracy for our age 
when we catch up educationally on 
the needs of our age. To do so is our 
inescapable responsibility. 

The great virtue of this book is its 
combination of clarity and vision. It 
is an ideal introduction for the student; 
a first-class source of information for 
the inquiring teacher and citizen; and 
a stimulating restatement for those 
already deeply engaged in the problem. 

James Hemming 

Our Times: A Social History, 
1912-1952. Vivian Ogilvie. ( Bats - 
ford, 21s.) 

Here is a book both for the school 
library and for the Common Room 
bookshelves, a book too for reading 
at home. An ideal leaving present 
for the Six-former, who will, of course, 
have been unable to refrain from read¬ 
ing it first before the gift is made ! 
The younger generation will find it a 
constant source of surprise and amuse¬ 
ment, while it enables them to under¬ 
stand, in the full light of events, the 
otherwise inexplicable enthusiasms and 
antics of their parents. The older 
will find it impossible to read without 
breaking into the chuckles that ac¬ 
company personal reminiscence, while 
it will administer a salutary corrective 
not only to nostalgic yearnings but 
also to smug and self-satisfied scorn 
of the days that are past. 

Nor will the teacher find it less 
valuable as a short account of the 
development of modern society. It is 
hardly fair, of course, to compare the 
piquant wit of its author, and his 
obvious gifts as an expositor, with the 
massive knowledge and wide horizons 
of Trevelyan’s Social History. Never¬ 
theless, it is in a sense a not unworthy 
popular continuation of that monu¬ 
mental work, though, differing in 
one important respect. Trevelyan’s 
pictures are glorious but static, and 
belong to the mental world of Ed¬ 
wardian days, when he first graced 
the History School at Cambridge. Our 
Times is modern in its dynamic 
character, portraying as it does a new 
social world which is still in the making. 
It contains no series of pictures but 
recounts how a new world — our ‘brave 


189 





THE NEW ERA 


1 90 

new world*— came into existence, and 
tells of the moving spirits that formed 
it and of the way it struggled into 
birth. 

And what a new world it is ! Our 
times ? Can 1912 be thought of as 
Ixdonging to our times at all ? . . . with 
its long days of leisure for the rich, 
its amateur cricket weeks and twelve- 
course dinners, while the bare legged 
children of the poor disported them¬ 
selves. shoeless, on the dirty pavements 
of the slumlands of our towns. . . How 
much has changed since then, the 
mental climate above all ! 

This book might well have been a 
mere catalogue of oddities and ex¬ 
travagances, a patch-work quilt con¬ 
taining all the queer doings and queerer 
clothes of our fathers and our mothers. 
It might have offered no more than 
an amusing retrospect of the follies 
and achievements of the past. In 
fact, it conveys, with fascinating art, 
the sound of the deep swell that lies 
beneath the peculiarities of our age, 
something of the compelling urge 
transforming modern life, that makes 
it possible for us to hope in the midst 
of so many reasons for despair. 

In this respect the pictures, beauti¬ 
fully produced, always apt and often 
excruciatingly funny as they are, give 
a misleading impression of the whole. 
One would never guess from them how 
much sheer information, how many 
excellent summaries of recent develop¬ 
ments in agriculture and industry, in 
social mechanisms and scientific 
thought, this volume’ of less than 250 
pages contains. Its author, however, 
has introduced his information and his 
figures with the lightest of touches, 
showing himself a born teacher in his 
power of summarizing in telling 
phrases innumerable dry facts. 

In anyone who has lived through 
this period the book must tend to 
produce an astonishing feeling of 
exhilaration. What fun it all was ! 
How full have been these last forty 
years with the thrill and excitement of 
innovation ! What a debt, too, we 
owe to the pioneers of science, to those 
daring rebels from whom we inherit our 
social freedom the outrageous flap¬ 
pers and youths in Oxford bags who 
have become the sober founders of 
to-day’s families of eager and healthy 
children with their unswathed limbs. 
Yet it warns us, too, how r much there 
is still to win, how little progress there 
has been in that sphere which is life 
and death to us all — the sphere of 
morals and of the life of the spirit. 

Wyatt Rawson 

An Introduction to Jung’s 
Psychology. Frieda Fordham. 
(Pelican. 2/-). 

In this interpretation of Jung’s 


many and varied sorties from the 
personal to the social, supra-personal 
and esoteric aspects of psychology, a 
definite order and coherence emerges. 
For the first time, the vaguely in¬ 
terested layman to whom most of 
Jung's own books remain closed, can 
feel at home, perhaps only as a visitor, 
in this unfamiliar world of archetypes 
and of the collective unconscious, 
liecause the guide is a welcoming and 
friendly one. Far from impressing us 
with obscure concepts and words of 
many syllables, she makes us partake 
of a feast of pleasant similes and 
analogies, taken from everyday life. 
We are neither pressed to swallow more 
than we can eat, nor are we threatened 
with starvation if we should dare to 
reject the whole or a part of what is 
offered. 

This easy way to absorption should 
not blind us to the depth of the 
problems touched upon, and their 
profoundly stirring dynamism. 
Teachers will find much food for 
thought in the discussion of psycho¬ 
logical types, their relationships to 
each other and the misunderstandings 
which may occur when they clash. 
The preference shown for the in¬ 
troverted type by Jung and many of 
his followers, leads to so