1902 Encyclopedia > Education > Wolfgang Ratke

(Part 8)

Wolfgang Ratke (1571-1635), German educational reformer

Wolfgang Ratke or Ratichius was born in Holstein in 1571. He anticipated some of the best improvements in the method of teaching, which have been made in modern times. He was like, many of those who have tried to improve existing methods in advance of his age, and he was rewarded for his labours, at Augsburg, Weimar, and Köthen by persecution and imprisonment. Can we wonder that education has improved so slowly when so much pains has been taken to silence and extinguish those who have devoted themselves to its improvement? His chief rules were as follows. 1. Begin everything with prayer. 2. Do everything in order, followina the course of nature. 3. One thing at a time. 4. Often repeat the same thing, 5. Teach everything first in the mother tongue. 6. Proceed from the mother tongue to other languages. 7. Teach without compulsion. Do not beat children to make them learn. Pupils must love their masters, not hate them. Nothing should be learnt by heart. Sufficient time should be given to play and recreation. Learn one thing before going on to another. Do not teach for two hours consecutively. 8. Uniformity in teaching, also in school books, especially grammars, which may with advantage be made comparative. 9. Teach a thing first, and then the reason of it. Give no rules before you have given the examples. Teach no language out of the gram-mar, but out of authors. 10. Let everything be taught by induction and experiment. Most of these precepts are accepted by all good teachers in the present day; all of them are full of wisdom. Unfortunately their author saw the faults of the teaching of his time more clearly than the means to remove them, and be was more successful in forming precepts than in carrying them out. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, he deserves an honourable place among the forerunners of a rational education.

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