Appendix III School Education

What a Child Should Know at Twelve

In order to induce the heads of schools (private schools, preparatory schools, girls' schools, and 'Lower' schools) to consider seriously whether it is not possible to introduce some such method of Education by Books, let me put forward a few considerations:––

  1. The cost of the books per pupil for the six years––from six to twelve––does not average more than £1 a year. A scheme of work for elementary schools might be arranged at a much less annual cost for books.
  2. Two and a half, for Class I., to three and a half hours a day, for Class III., is ample time for this book education.
  3. Much writing is unnecessary, because the pupils have the matter in their books and know where to find it.
  4. Classes II. and III. are able to occupy themselves in study with pleasure and profit.
  5. Teachers are relieved of the exhausting drudgery of many corrections.
  6. The pupils have the afternoons for handicrafts, nature-work, walks, games, etc.
  7. The evenings are free, whether at school or at home, for reading aloud, choral singing, hobbies, etc.
  8. The pupils get many intelligent interests, beget hobbies, and have leisure for them.
  9. There is no distressing cramming for the term's examination. The pupils know their work, and find it easy to answer questions set to find out what they know, rather than what they do not know.
  10. Children of any age, however taught hitherto, take up this sort of work with avidity.
  11. Boys and girls taught in this way take up ordinary school work, preparation for examinations, etc., with intelligence, zeal, and success.

The six years' work––from six to twelve––which I suggest, should and does result in the power of the pupils––

  1. To grasp the sense of a passage of some length at a single reading: and to narrate the substance of what they have read or heard.
  2. To spell, and express themselves in writing with ease and fair correctness.
  3. To give an orderly and detailed account of any subject they have studied.
  4. To describe in writing what they have seen, or heard from the newspapers.
  5. They should have a familiar acquaintance with the common objects of the country, with power to reproduce some of these in brushwork.
  6. Should have skill in various handicrafts, as cardboard Sloyd, basket-making, clay-modelling, etc.
  7. In Arithmetic, they should have some knowledge of vulgar and decimal fractions, percentage, household accounts, etc.
  8. Should have a knowledge of Elementary Algebra, and should have done practical exercises in Geometry.
  9. Of Elementary Latin Grammar; should read fables and easy tales, and, say, one or two books of 'Caesar.'
  10. They should have some power of understanding spoken French, and be able to speak a little; and to read an easy French book without a dictionary.
  11. In German, much the same as in French, but less progress.
  12. In History, they will have gone through a rather detailed study of English, French, and Classical (Plutarch) History.
  13. In Geography they will have studied in detail the map of the world, and have been at one time able to fill in the landscape, industries, etc., from their studies, of each division of the map.
  14. They will have learned the elements of Physical Geography, Botany, Human Physiology, and Natural History, and will have read interesting books on some of these subjects.
  15. They should have some knowledge of English Grammar.
  16. They should have a considerable knowledge of Scripture History and the Bible text. 
  17. They should have learned a good deal of Scripture and of Poetry, and should have read some Literature.
  18. They should have learned to sing on the Tonic Sol-fa method, and should know a number of English, French, and German Songs.
  19. They should have learned Swedish Drill and various drills and calisthenic exercises.
  20. In Drawing they should be able to represent common objects of the house and field with brush or charcoal; should be able to give rudimentary expression to ideas; and should be acquainted with the works of some artists through reproductions.
  21. In Music their knowledge of theory and their ear-training should keep pace with their powers of execution.

This is the degree of progress an average pupil of twelve should have made under a teacher of knowledge and ability. Progress in the disciplinary subjects, languages and mathematics, for example, must depend entirely on the knowledge and ability of the teacher.