See Article History Herbert Spencer, born April 27,DerbyDerbyshire, England—died December 8,BrightonSussexEnglish sociologist and philosopher, an early advocate of the theory of evolutionwho achieved an influential synthesis of knowledge, advocating the preeminence of the individual over society and of science over religion.
The text is in the public domain. This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes.
It may not be used in any way for profit. Their tone was aggressive and their proposals revolutionary; although all the doctrines—with one important exception—had already been vigorously preached by earlier writers on education, as Spencer himself was at pains to point out.
In all its effects, learning the meaning of things is better than learning the meaning of words. This doctrine was extremely repulsive to the established profession of education in England, where Latin, Greek, and mathematics had been the staples of education for many generations, and were believed to afford the only suitable preparation for the learned Herbert spencer essays on education, public life, and cultivated society.
In proclaiming this doctrine with ample illustration, ingenious argument, and forcible reiteration, Spencer was Herbert spencer essays on education true educational pioneer, although some of his scientific contemporaries were really preaching similar doctrines, each in his own field.
The profession of teaching has long been characterised by certain habitual convictions, which Spencer undertook to shake rudely, and even to deride. The first of these convictions is that all education, physical, intellectual, and moral, must be authoritative, and need take no account of the natural wishes, tendencies, and motives of the ignorant and undeveloped child.
The second dominating conviction is that to teach means to tell, or show, children what they ought to see, believe, and utter. Expositions by the teacher and books are therefore the true means of education.
The third and supreme conviction is that the method of education which produced the teacher himself and the contemporary or earlier scholars, authors, and publicists, must be the righteous and sufficient method.
Its fruits demonstrate its soundness, and make it sacred. Herbert Spencer, in the essays included in the present volume, assaulted all three of these firm convictions. Accordingly, the ideas on education which he put forth more than fifty years ago have penetrated educational practice very slowly—particularly in England; but they are now coming to prevail in most civilised countries, and they will prevail more and more.
Through him, the thoughts on education of Comenius, Montaigne, Locke, Milton, Rousseau, Pestalozzi, and other noted writers on this neglected subject are at last winning their way into practice, with the modifications or adaptations which the immense gains of the human race in knowledge and power since the nineteenth century opened have shown to be wise.
In general, the advance has been brought about through the indirect effects of the enormous industrial, social, and political changes of the last fifty years.
The first practical step was the introduction of laboratory teaching of one or more of the sciences into the secondary schools and colleges. Chemistry and physics were the commonest subjects selected.
These two subjects had been taught from books even earlier; but memorising science out of books is far less useful as training than memorising grammars and vocabularies.
The characteristic discipline of science can be imparted only through the laboratory method. On the contrary, they believed, as most people do to-day, that the mind of the young child cannot grasp the processes and generalisations of science, and that science is no more universally fitted to develop mental power than the classics or mathematics.
Indeed, experience during the past fifty years seems to have proved that fewer minds are naturally inclined to scientific study than to linguistic or historical study; so that if some science is to be learnt by everybody, the amount of such study should be limited to acquiring in one or two sciences knowledge of the scientific method in general.
The elaborate teaching of many sciences was thus introduced.
The new technical schools also illustrate the advent of instruction in applied science as an important element in advanced education. Some endowed institutions for girls illustrate the same tendencies, as, for example, the Bedford College for Women and the Royal Holloway College.
All these institutions teach sciences in considerable variety, and in the way that Spencer advocated,—not so much because they have distinctly accepted his views, as because modern industrial and social conditions compel the preparation in science of young people destined for various occupations and services indispensable to modern society.
The method of the preparation is essentially that which he advocated. The applications of science in the arts and trades have been so numerous and productive, that widespread training in science has become indispensable to any nation which means to excel in the manufacturing industries, whether of large scale or small scale.
The extraordinary popularity of evening schools and correspondence schools in the United States rests on the need which young people employed in the various industries of the country feel of obtaining more theoretical knowledge about the physical or chemical processes through which they are earning a livelihood.
The correspondence schools are teaching hundreds of thousands of young people at work in machine-shops, mills, mines, and factories, who believe that they can advance themselves in their several occupations by supplementing their elementary education with correspondence courses, taken while they are at work earning a livelihood in industries that rest ultimately on applications of science.
His proposal that children should be allowed to suffer the natural consequences of their foolish or wrong acts does not seem to the present generation—any more than it did to him—to be applicable to very young children, who need protection from the undue severity of many natural penalties; but the soundness of his general doctrine that it is the true function of parents and teachers to see that children habitually experience the normal consequences of their conduct, without putting artificial consequences in place of them, now commands the assent of most persons whose minds have been freed from the theological dogmas of original sin and total depravity.
Spencer did not expect the immediate adoption of this principle; because society as a whole was not yet humane enough. Parents and teachers are beginning to realise that self-control is a prime object in moral education, and that this self-control cannot be practised under a regime of constant supervision, unexplained commands, and painful punishments, but must be gained in freedom.Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg.
Essays on Education and Kindred Subjects by Herbert Spencer - Free Ebook Project Gutenberg. Herbert Spencer Essay Herbert Spencer was an English philosopher, political theorist, and contributor to the disciplines of ethics, metaphysics, religion, politics, rhetoric, biology, and psychology.
He was known as the Father of Social Darwinism because he coined the phrase survival of the fittest. Herbert Spencer was born in Derby on April 27, His childhood, described in An Autobiography (), reflected the attitudes of a family which was known on both sides to include religious nonconformists, social critics, and rebels.
This volume book contains a collection of philosophical essays written by Herbert Spencer.
The essays contained within this book were originally published in the 'Westminster Review', the 'North British Review', and the 'British Quarterly Review'.
They include: Educational: Intellectual, Moral, and /5. The English sociologist Herbert Spencer was perhaps the most important popularizer of science and philosophy in the 19th century. Presenting a theory of evolution prior to Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Spencer argued that all of life, including education, should take.
Aug 11, · The Project Gutenberg EBook of Essays on Education and Kindred Subjects by Herbert Spencer This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.