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lany is not without plan. The opening chapters are intended to depict the potential man, the ideal being which it is the highest purpose of education to perfect. On the teacher's conception of the worth and dignity of human nature, and equally on the learner's self-respect, and reverence for the divine workmanship which makes his body the “quintessence of dust," and his soul “the infinite in faculties," — on these depend the processes of that nurture and training which fit men to live the best and most useful life.
After discussing, in brief, the nature and educability of man, and the motive of all education, the writer ventures to make a few suggestions concerning the special function of schools in the vast work of general education, and touches slightly upon methods of government and instruction, under the inclusive heading “Schoolmastery." Then follow brief essays on the essential elements of mental and moral development, and on the importance of reading as a means to superior culture.
About a third part of the volume is taken up with studies in the history of education.
Many of the articles here printed were addressed originally to popular audiences or Teachers' Institutes, and might with propriety be called familiar
“Talks,” rather than essays. Some of the pieces have appeared in “ Education,” the “Ohio Educational Monthly,” “Intelligence,” and other journals. The dominant purpose of the several essays and of the collection is to oppose the deadening influence of mere mechanical routine in the training of children, whether in school or at home. The “Procrustean bedstead,” the “cramming-machine,” the "conservative groove,” still find a place in the generality of schoolhouses, and there is still need of abolitionists to urge their removal.
The incentive that led to the making of this book is the same that induced the author to compose the several sections originally, — the wish to be of some service, even the slightest, to the vital cause of popular education. The melioration of the children of the people is the reform that underlies all other reforms.