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Jean Joseph Jacotot (1770-1840). Andrew Bell (1753-1832). Joseph Lancaster (1778-1838). Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel (1782-1852).
The system of Jacotot has aroused great interest in this country. Its author was born at Dijon in 1770. In 1815 he retired to Louvain and became professor there, and director of the Belgian military school. He died in 1840. His method of teaching is based on three principles:
1. All men have an equal intelligence;
2. Every man has received from God the faculty of being able to instruct himself;
3. Every thing is in every thing.
The first of these principles is certainly wrong, although Jacotot tried to explain it by asserting that, although men had the same intelligence, they differed widely in the will to make use of it. Still it is important to assert that nearly all men are capable of receiving some intellectual education, provided the studies to which they are directed are wide enough to engage their faculties, and the means taken to interest them are sufficiently ingenious. The second principle lays down that it is more necessary to stimulate the pupil to learn for himself, than to teach him didactically. The third principle explains the process which Jacotot adopted. To one learning a language for the first time he would give a short passage of a few lines, and encour-age the pupil to study first the words, then the letters, then the grammar, then the full meaning of the expressions, until by iteration and accretion a single paragraph took the place of an entire literature. Much may be effected by this method in the hands of a skilful teacher, but a charlatan might make it an excuse for ignorance and neglect.
Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel
German educationalist and inventor of the Kindergarten
Among those who have improved the methods of teaching, we must mention Bell and Lancaster, the joint-discoverers of the method of mutual instruction, which, if it has not effected everything which its founders expected of it, has produced the system of pupil-teachers which is common in our schools. Froebel also deserves an honourable place as the founder of the Kindergarten, a means of teaching young children by playing and amusement. His plans, which have a far wider significance than this limited development of them, are likely to be fruitful of results to future workers.
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