双语阅读 | THE FUNCTION OF EDUCATION IN DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY 民主社会中教育之功用

THE FUNCTION OF EDUCATION IN DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY
民主社会中教育之功用
By Charles W. Eliot
查尔斯·W.艾略特

THE FUNCTION OF EDUCATION IN DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY, from Charles William Eliot's Educational Reforms: Essays and Addresses, New York, The Century Company, 1909, pp. 401-407.

Charles William Eliot (1834-1926), American educationalist, president of Harvard University, 1869-1909. This is an address delivered before the Brooklyn Institute on October 2, 1897.

What the function of education shall be in a democracy will depend on what is meant by democratic education.
民主社会中教育之功用取决于民主教育之意义。

Too many of us think of education for the people as if it meant only learning to read, write, and cipher. Now, reading, writing, and simple ciphering are merely the tools by the diligent use of which a rational education is to be obtained through years of well-directed labor. They are not ends in themselves, but means to the great end of enjoying a rational existence. Under any civilized form of government, these arts ought to be acquired by every child by the time it is nine years of age. Competent teachers, or properly conducted schools, now teach reading, writing, and spelling simultaneously, so that the child writes every word it reads, and, of course, in writing spells the word. Ear, eye, and hand thus work together from the beginning in the acquisition of the arts of reading and writing. As to ciphering, most educational experts have become convinced that the amount of arithmetic which an educated person who is not some sort of computer needs to make use of is but small, and that real education should not be delayed or impaired for the sake of acquiring a skill in ciphering which will be of little use either to the child or to the adult. Reading, writing, and arithmetic, then, are not the goal of popular education.
古往,教育于吾民大众莫过于教人诵读、授人文书、传人算术。如今,勤勉之士视之为“工具”而已,只需努力得当,假以时日,即可实现理性教育。然工具本身并非教育之目标,乃是受教育者为实现“享受理性生存”这一伟大目标之手段。任何文明政体下,孩童至九岁时便应习得此诸般技艺。时下,称职之师或规范之校皆同时教授阅读、写作及拼写。如此一来,孩童依照所读进行书写,当然,也于书写时拼读文字。因而,初始习得阅读、写作等技艺时,耳、眼、手则予协调并用。至于算术,多数教育专家坚信,受教育之人,除非专业于计算,其所需运算量甚小。无论在孩童时期或成人阶段,算术鲜有用武之地,故不应以延缓甚至牺牲真正教育为代价而习得此种鸡肋之技。至此,阅读、写作、算术皆不入大众教育之标的。

The goal in all education, democratic or other, is always receding before the advancing contestant, as the top of a mountain seems to retreat before the climber, remoter and higher summits appearing successively as each apparent summit it reached. Nevertheless, the goal of the moment in education is always the acquisition of knowledge, the training of some permanent capacity for productiveness or enjoyment, and the development of character. Democratic education being a very new thing in the world, its attainable objects are not yet fully perceived. Plato taught that the laborious classes in a model commonwealth needed no education whatever. That seems an extraordinary opinion for a great philosopher to hold; but, while we wonder at it, let us recall that only one generation ago in some of our Southern States it was a crime to teach a member of the laborious class to read. In feudal society education was the privilege of some of the nobility and clergy, and was one source of the power of these two small classes. Universal education in Germany dates only from the Napoleonic wars; and its object has been to make freeman. In England the system of public instruction is but twenty-seven years old. Moreover the fundamental object of democratic education—to lift the whole population on a higher plane of intelligence, conduct, and happiness—has not yet been perfectly apprehended even in the United States. Too many of our own people think of popular education as if it were only a protection against dangerous superstitions, or a measure of police, or a means of increasing the national productiveness in the arts and trades. Our generation may, therefore, be excused if it has but an incomplete vision of the goal of education in a democracy.
不论民主抑或其他教育,其标的总是随受教育者进步而后移,好比登山者眼中之山顶总不断后移。当攀上眼前之峰顶时,更远山脉、更高顶峰则相继涌现。言虽如此,目前教育目标仍是获取知识、锻炼产力、学会鉴赏及塑造性格。民主教育乃新生领域,其功能及目标尚未能得到完全领会。以柏拉图之见,模范联邦体中,劳动阶级不需接受任何教育。对柏拉图此等大哲学家而言,此观点似乎非比寻常;然虑及吾辈,尚表疑惑。不妨回想,仅一代人之前,于美国南方诸州之内教授劳动阶层人民阅读乃犯法之事。在封建社会,受教育乃贵族与牧师之特权,亦为其获得权利之源泉。在德国,全民教育源于拿破仑战争,目标为培养自由公民。在英格兰,此等公众教育体系仅存廿七年之久,且其最主要目标是使大众民智、民行、民乐上升一个层次,但此目标即便在美国也未得到充分领会。多数民众认为,大众教育不过是危险迷信活动之预防,治安管理之手段,抑或提高国家艺术及贸易产率之方式。故而,吾辈如若对民主国家教育之目标理解不透彻,实乃情有可原。

I proceed to describe briefly the main elements of instruction and discipline in a democratic school. As soon as the easy use of what I have called the tools of education is acquired, and even while this familiarity is being gained, the capacity for productiveness and enjoyment should begin to be trained through the progressive acquisition of an elementary knowledge of the external world. The democratic school should begin early in the very first grades—the study of nature; and all its teachers should, therefore, be capable of teaching the elements of physical geography, meteorology, botany, and zoölogy, the whole forming in the child's mind one harmonious sketch of its complex environment. This is a function of the primary-school teacher which our fathers never thought of, but which every passing year brings out more and more clearly as a prime function of every instructor of little children. Somewhat later in the child's progress toward maturity the great sciences of chemistry and physics will find place in its course of systematic training. From the seventh or eighth year, according to the quality and capacity of the child, plane and solid geometry, the science of form, should find a place among the school studies, and some share of the child's attention that great subject should claim for six or seven successive years. The process of making acquaintance with external nature through the elements of these various sciences should be interesting and enjoyable for every child. It should not be painful but delightful; and throughout the process the child's skill in the arts of reading, writing, and ciphering should be steadily developed.
继而,将简述民主学校教学与学科两大主题。如若能轻松上手且娴熟运用上文所言之“工具”,即可逐步获取外部世界基础知识以提升产力及培养乐趣。民主学校应在第一学年初始开设关于自然之学习,且所有教师应具备能力教授自然地理、气象学、植物学、动物学等基础知识。学生所学知识会作为整体在头脑中构成他们所处复杂环境的和谐轮廓。此即小学教师之价值功用,吾辈前人未曾有所意识。然年复一年,孩童启蒙师的早期价值功用会变得愈加明晰。在孩童迈向成熟之途中,化学、物理此等重要学科会在其系统训练中有所体现。据孩童之才干与能力,自第七或第八年,平面几何、立体几何、形式科学会在众多学习科目中占有一席之地,某些主要科目甚或需要连续学习六七载。通过各种学科知识来了解外在自然世界,于每位学生而言皆应有趣而快乐。此过程愉悦充盈、苦痛未沾,且孩童之读、写、算技能可获稳步提升。

There is another part of every child's environment with which he should early begin to make acquaintance, namely, the human part. The story of the human race should be gradually conveyed to the child's mind from the time he begins to read with pleasure. This story should be conveyed quite as much through biography as through history; and with the descriptions of facts and real events should be entwined charming and uplifting products of the imagination. I cannot but think, however, that the wholly desirable imaginative literature for children remains, in large measure, to be written. The mythologies, Old Testament stories, fairy tales, and historical romances on which we are accustomed to feed the childish mind contain a great deal that is perverse, barbarous, or trivial; and to this infiltration into children's minds, generation after generation, of immoral, cruel, or foolish ideas is probably to be attributed, in part, the slow ethical progress of the race. The common justification of our practice is that children do not apprehend the evil in the mental pictures with which we so rashly supply them. But what should we think of a mother who gave her child dirty milk or porridge, on the theory that the child would not assimilate the dirt? Should we be less careful of mental and moral food materials? It is, however, as undesirable as it is impossible to try to feed the minds of children only upon facts of observation or record. The immense product of the imagination in art and literature is a concrete fact with which every educated being should be made somewhat familiar, such products being a very real part of every individual's actual environment.
此外,孩童应予早期了解自身所处环境之另一面——人类本身。人类故事应在孩童开始享受阅读之时就逐渐灌输于他们头脑中。传记文学与历史叙述两种灌输方式应予以并重,且对现实和真实事件之描写需穿插一些跌宕起伏、引人入胜的想象元素。然而,不禁思虑,完全符合意愿之想象性儿童文学作品在相当程度上有待创作。以往,神话传说、圣经故事、童话奇谈、历史演义等被习惯性用于填充孩童精神世界,但其中些许内容是违逆、野蛮且琐碎的。将此等愚蠢、残忍或有悖道德之邪恶思想灌输于一代代孩童内心,成为人类伦理发展进程缓慢原因之一。而当这些思想被轻率地置于孩童面前时,他们并不会理解其中之邪恶,这使得人们认为这种做法理所应当。好比一位母亲,她自认为孩童不会吸收脏物,从而喂食其不干净牛奶或米粥,对此,我们做何感想?从口食物品到精神食粮,我们应放肆标准,任意进食吗?然而,仅靠观察或记录事实来填充孩童精神世界之做法既不合理亦不可能。艺术与文学中通过想象而得的大量产物是每个受教育之人都应或多或少熟悉的具体事实,此类产物是每个个体所处真实环境中的一部分。

Into the education of the great majority of children there enters as an important part their contribution to the daily labor of the household and the farm, or, at least, of the household. It is one of the serious consequences of the rapid concentration of population into cities and large towns, and of the minute division of labor which characterizes modern industries, that this wholesome part of education is less easily secured than it used to be when the greater part of the population was engaged in agriculture. Organized education must, therefore, supply in urban communities a good part of the manual and moral training which the coöperation of children in the work of father and mother affords in agricultural communities. Hence the great importance in any urban population of facilities for training children to accurate handwork, and for teaching them patience, forethought, and good judgment in productive labor.
对多数孩童而言,他们能否在家里和田间,或至少在家里出活出力也构成教育之重要部分。人口向城市或大型城镇快速聚集,以及作为工业现代化标志的分工细化导致了一个严重后果,即比起过去大部分人口从事农业活动的时代,保障这种有益健康的教育已日趋困难。因而,系统性教育必须在城市社区安排大量的动手能力训练与品性道德教育,而在农业社区中,孩童与父母协同承担工作,以完成此部分教育。故而,城市中的教育机构应当训练孩童在生产劳动中如何做到手工精细、耐心耐性、思虑筹划及正确判断,这些尤为重要。

Lastly, the school should teach every child, by precept, by example, and by every illustration its reading can supply, that the supreme attainment for any individual is vigor and loveliness of character. Industry, persistence, veracity in word and act, gentleness and disinterestedness should be made to thrive and blossom during school life in the hearts of the children who bring these virtues from their homes well started, and should be planted and tended in the less fortunate children. Furthermore, the pupils should be taught that what is virtue in one human being is virtue in any group of human beings, large or small—a village, a city or a nation; that the ethical principles which should govern an empire are precisely the same as those which should govern an individual; and that selfishness, greed, falseness, brutality, and ferocity are as hateful and degrading in a multitude as they are in a single savage.
最后,课堂教学应利用阅读中所提供的规则、例子和图解予以施教,确保每个孩童的最高培养目标是富有活力与魅力的性格。受益于良好家教的孩童自小便在言行上做到勤勉、坚韧、诚实,心中也已知晓公正、礼让这些品格,学校教育应让这些品格继续兴旺、传播。而对其他缺乏上述得体言行及优良品格的孩童,教育职责在于将其植入童心,并悉心发扬。另外,应让孩童明晓,品行美德于己于人、于国于民皆同行同德、同心同理。小至某个村落,大到一个城邦,治国之道德准则同样适用于规约个人行为,故寄生于群体或个人的自私、贪婪、虚伪、无情、凶残都是令人生厌及丧失体面的低劣人格。

The education thus outlined is what I think should be meant by democratic education. It exists to-day only among the most intelligent people, or in places singularly fortunate in regard to the organization of their schools; but though it be the somewhat distant ideal of democratic education, it is by no means an unattainable ideal. It is the reasonable aim of the public school in a thoughtful and ambitious democracy. It, of course, demands of a kind of teacher much above the elementary-school teacher of the present day, and it also requires a larger expenditure upon the public school than is at all customary as yet in this country. But that better kind of teacher and that larger expenditure are imperatively called for, if democratic institutions are to prosper, and to promote continuously the real welfare of the mass of the people. The standard of education should not be set at the now attained or the now attainable. It is the privilege of public education to press toward a mark remote.
以上略述之教育即前面言及的民主教育。此类教育理念只存在于现今最聪慧者当中或组织方式非凡突出的部分学校。尽管民主教育仍旧遥远,但绝不意味其遥不可及。在一个富有雄心及深度思想的民主国家,民主教育乃公办教学之合理目标。当然,师资与经费是两大问题,首先需要一批水平远超现今普通小学教员的教师,其次,还需投入比惯常更大的开支。如若民主制度想要繁荣发展,民众切实福利想要持续提高,则师资与经费的投入成必然之势。另外,教育标准不应以既成现有或触手可及的原则来制定,因公共教育之优势在于朝更远目标而迈进。

(罗选民 译)

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