A follow up from Monday– For CM wonks, history buffs, and education nerds and geeks:
In 1908, the Journal of Education reported on THE MORAL EDUCATION CONGRESS (Wikipedia link for background), which held its first meeting:
“THE First International Moral Education Congress met Friday, September 25 in the Great Hall of the University of London. The hall was full to overflowing….
“Addressing in French the members of the Latin nations, the PRESIDENT [Sir Michael Ernest Sadler] said: The object of the meeting was to consider how best to make the high principles of morality prevail in the work of our schools. In solving this, the most serious of problems, each nation could take part and contribute its particular share of experience….”
“…In conclusion, he suggested three practical points deserved special consideration; the size of classes, instruction in morals in training colleges and the work of a continuation school.”
In the Journal of Education’s (volume XXX, Oxford University Press, 1908) report, we have summaries and notes from each of the talks. the conference lasted from Friday thru Tuesday, with no meetings on Sunday. Topics were wide-ranging- the ethics of classroom pets, whether Bible had a place or not (some said yes, some said no, some said something in between), eugenics, playgrounds, co-ed schools, and more. For instance:
“Public Elementary Schools: Mr. HoLE, Vice President of the National Union of Teachers, apologized for the unavoidable absence of Mr. Nicholls, the President whose place he was deputed to fill. He asked the Congress not expect too much from elementary teachers. Their material was drawn from most unpromising homes, they had only twenty seven and a half hours a week for the whole curriculum, and the rest of their pupils time was spent mainly in the streets. He deprecated any fixed and systematic lessons in morals. The boy was a healthy animal and hated being preached at. Their two desiderata were good teachers and small classes. At present 30 per cent of their teachers had no business at all in schools, and instead of classes of thirty as a maximum, classes of sixty to one hundred were common. Elementary teachers were content to take the Bible as a text book and they found in the New Testament a code of morals not second to any that this Congress could hope to develop.
“Japan: M. NAGAYA read a paper contributed by M. Hojo on the moral principles underlying Japanese education. These were loyalty and filial piety, two aspects of the same principle; devotion to the Emperor as the embodiment of the State, and veneration of ancestors as comprehending all the virtues of the private citizen.”
Also: “Miss Amy Locke pleaded for the teaching of anatomy as showing the importance of physical training, and as tending to destroy the influence of inartistic and injurious fashions in dress. This was especially important for girls in elementary schools. She also urged the advantage of good music not only for drill purposes but throughout school life.”
Quite the variety. Now, Miss Mason was to present a paper here (which you can read here). However, in another, more official report on the congress- the “RECORD OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL MORAL EDUCATION CONGRESS HELD AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LONDON SEPTEMBER 25 29TH 1908, in a summary of the ‘Seventh Session,’ held on Tuesday morning of the September 29th, I found this reference to Miss Mason and the PNEU:
“RELATION OF MORAL EDUCATION TO EDUCATION UNDER OTHER ASPECTS: The Hon. Mrs Franklin, representing the Parents National Education Union in the absence of Miss Charlotte Mason, claimed that their society made a practical effort to bring about co-operation between school and home. If good literature were more used in school, a means of home co-operation was at once provided since parents also could read good books and discuss them with the children. There could be no greater divorce between school and home than that the child should hear at home nothing of the subjects talked of at school, but only discussion of other people’s faults or of the amusements of the hour. Then the development of nature study and hand-work afforded another bond to connect the parent with the teacher. It was good indirect moral education for a parent to share the love and the study of nature with his child. The same applied to picture talks, lessons in music, architecture, etc. The home should also share in direct moral instruction, if the parents knew the children’s books better they could discuss heroes and heroines and their conduct. Miss Yonge’s stories were unsurpassed for this purpose. Miss Mason’s book Ourselves could also be recommended.”
So reads the society’s official record, and I found no reference to Mason herself presenting. In the Journal of Education, there is no mention of Mrs. Franklin’s pinch hitting for Miss Mason, however, they do report that in the final sessions, held Tuesday afternoon, Miss Mason herself presented a paper, curiously similar to the one read by Mrs. Franklin in subject matter. Also, in spite of the wide range of unrelated topics squeezed into the conference, the writer considered Masons paper irrelevant! Here is a report on Mason, as well as those who gave talks before and after her. I share them because it is unclear to me what could possibly be irrelevant.
“Tuesday’s Sectional meeting opened with a big program, no less than Biology and Moral Education. Dr. QUERTON of the Historical Institute, Brussels, delivered an address on Les Bases Scientifiques de la Morale, wherein he deplored the neglect of biology in the curriculum of training colleges and strongly emphasized the need for a science of pédotechniques as comprising a résumé of methods employed in education.
Miss CHARLOTTE MASON’s paper on Children’s Books was somewhat irrelevant, but showed a real enthusiasm for her subject, and she reminded her hearers of the value of certain types of books for children, such as those written by the late Miss CM Yonge.
Prof DE VUYST made a gallant attempt to reproduce in English his address on Co operation between School and Home Methods and thereby secured the sympathy of his hearers.
Miss HoskyNs ABRAHALL touched a suggestive theme in The Unfolding of Character from the Biological Point of View and noted the subconscious preparation that goes on in a child’s life for the stage to follow it. This she contended should induce educationists to look ahead in their methods and forestall the child’s development.
Mr WB DRUMMOND of Edinburgh had likewise some suggestive remarks to offer about The Stages of Development in Childhood and Adolescence and submitted data for determining the characteristics of successive periods of development in a child’s life.
Eugenics and Moral Education was the text of Dr J.W. SLAUGHTER, who dilated on the relation of eugenics to moral education and suggested that a more serious facing of responsibilities was the best means of combating the degeneration of the western races, which he regarded as a conclusion based upon undisputed facts.
Her somewhat broken English rather handicapped Miss CHARLOTTE DE GEOCZE’s interesting remarks on Environment and Moral Development. She demanded that society and the State alike should create such institutions as were most calculated to repair the moral damage wrought in the child’s soul by the sins of society while fully admitting the influence of such agents as family and school life on the child as well as social and national tendencies.
Dr. LOUISE APPEL’s observations were a commentary on some of the preceding speaker’s remarks and embodied an eloquent plea for better social conditions, whilst deprecating the exchange of the old moral code and principles for newer but less trustworthy ethical bases.
The psychological note was struck by Miss MARY DAVIES, who emphasized the need of more psychology in our educational ideals, seeing that the child is but a psychological embryo whose matrix is society.”
Now, here is something that struck me- and I have to wonder if this reporter even attended Mason’s section. The congress provided short descriptions of each talk and passed them out to reporters. I imagine they also distributed information on scheduled talks ahead of time. Here’s the
summary given for Mason’s paper:
“Miss Charlotte M. Mason says that children should get their knowledge out of books. The books should be mostly of a sort that could be read with interest at any age. Therefore, they should be such that parents may read them also and discuss them with animation.”
As you see here, others at the time also found the subject matter rather disjointed.
I suspect our reporter skipped out on the last day of talks and made up her report on the proceedings based on guess work and a bit of an ongoing feud the Journals of Education people had with Charlotte Mason and her PNEU.
As for why the Journal of Education editer singled out Miss Mason this way, she seems to have gotten under their skin some time previously:
The Journal of education, Volume 11, Dec. 1890:
“During the last month, there has been a mission week in London. The missioner was Miss Charlotte Mason, of Bradford, and the object of the mission was the casual parent. The Parents National Educational Union is the title of the Society which is to be founded or has been founded. We are doubtful what tense we ought to use, for though we are informed that there are already several flourishing branches, the parent society (with a small p) has yet to be constituted, and we have only a draft proof of the articles of association. It would not be fair to criticize these or the accompanying manifesto, but as at present advised, we fail to see the ration d’etre of the new society, or what it can do that might not be better done by the Teachers Guild, the Teachers Training and Registration Society, and the Froebel Society.
“Oh, those parents!” was the favourite ejaculation of a once famous headmaster, and the same note is repeated by Miss Mason in sorrow, not in anger. But the British parent is not a gregarious animal, and though mothers meetings may flourish by help of tea and prospective flannel petticoats, we doubt whether colleges, associations, classes, lectures for parents or those of an age to become parents, will attract mothers, let alone fathers, though warned by Miss Mason that upon them the responsibility of the world’s future rests.”
Rather condescending, yes?
A response, From January, 1890:
THE PARENTS NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL UNION
To the Editor of the Journal of Education
Sir: In your notice of last month you have hardly done justice to Miss Charlotte Mason and her Mission. Her work is quite distinct from that of the Teachers Guild, as her object is to bring parents fully to realize the extent of their opportunities as regards the early training of their children and to help them to help themselves in laying the foundations wisely and well of their children’s characters. This is even more important, I venture to think, than any work yet attempted by the Guild, as it goes to the root of all education, and every teacher knows that the most serious drawback he has to contend with is the neglect or misdirectiou of early training in his pupils. I do not object to the term mission as applied by you to Miss Mason’s London meetings, for she is strongly possessed with the importance of her subject, and whatever she says is full of light and leading to all who care for their children and for education. Moreover, Miss Mason is a lady of literary ability who can convey her ideas in an attractive form and she will not fail to make herself heard. That she was not very favourably received by the London representatives of the Teachers Guild is a reflection upon the Guild rather than upon Miss Mason, and I can only hope that a more generous feeling will prevail in the recognition of a movement which Miss Mason has had the insight to inaugurate, and which she is seeking to spread at a great personal sacrifice of time and money. It is true that she resides in Bradford, but this is not the first time that Bradford has made its mark in the development of English education.
I am Sir, yours faithfully,
W.H. KEELING, Headmaster of the Bradford Grammar School
And here we have the Journal’s rather testy response to Keeling:
“Mr. Keeling has formed a wholly erroneous notion as to the attitude of the Teachers Guild to the Parents National Educational Union. At the first meeting of the Parents Union, a member of the Guild Council took the chair; the second meeting was held at Miss Buss’s schools, also a member of the Guild Council, and of the five speakers who pleaded the cause of the Union, four were prominent members of the Teachers Guild.
The plain truth is that the movement failed in London not from any opposition on the part of the Guild, nor from any jealousy of the provinces, but from the indefiniteness of the draft scheme and the unbusiness-like order of proceedings. It was proposed to form branches before the parent Society had been constituted. To the first and only meeting of the General Council, the general public were invited and no attempt was made to formulate a constitution or to elect officers.
Let us make our own attitude towards the Parents Union perfectly clear. To arouse parents to their responsibilities, to instruct them in their duties, and to make them fellow workers with the professed teachers of their children, is indeed, as Mr. Keeling says, a more important work than any yet attempted by the Teachers Guild. But we hold that this work is distinctly included within the objects of the Guild as defined by its Articles of Association, the first two of which are, briefly, “to provide the public with the means of forming sound judgments on educational matters” and to circulate information regarding educational methods. Societates non sunt multiplicandae praeter necessitatem* and we see no reason why Miss Mason’s work should not be merged in that of the Guild, just as that of the old Education Society has been. Miss Mason’s provisional Council is largely recruited from that of the Guild. What just cause or impediment is there why it should not form itself into a Parents’ Committee of the Guild?”
*IMHO, a loose paraphrase of the Latin here would be ‘we speak Latin, so neener, neener.’
It seems they have a bone or two with which to pick, and from my perch it come across as they want to be the boss and be seen as the recognized authorities, and they don’t like upstarts who aren’t professional, degreed, educators getting too big for their britches and going off and doing their own thing without oversight from the the Teachers Guild. Mason was a teacher, but her credentials were about as slim as they could be.
However she and her society persevered, and sixteen years later we find this:
THE HOUSE OF EDUCATION
To the Editor of The Journal of Education
We ask you to allow us to draw attention through your columns to a valuable educational experiment which has been going on long enough now to establish a definite result, and which we venture to think is deserving of attention from all those who are interested in the advance of education in this country.
About fifteen years ago Miss Mason, of the House of Education, Ambleside, began to organize the teaching given in private schoolrooms with a view to raising the standard of the work done to that accomplished in the best schools. The machinery by which she has achieved her purpose has been very simple/ She has trained a certain number of governesses at Ambleside on her own lines, but she has not confined her work to their schoolrooms. A suitable time-table and scheme of work in four grades may be had by any member of the Parents National Educational Union under certain conditions; and the five hundred schoolrooms odd that have adopted her scheme form what is known as the Parents Union School. The experiment to which we allude has been carried out in this school for fifteen years, and its success has led Miss Mason to submit her results to the profession with a view to their wider adoption. We are among those whom she was good enough to invite to a conference held at the House of Education at Whitsuntide, and we desire to record our sense of the value of her experiment as regards the literary side of a child’s education.
The curriculum of the Parents Union School is very wide. and includes all the subjects ordinarily taught in schools, besides handwork, physical exercises &c. The originality lies in the methods of work prescribed by Miss Mason with regard to English subjects. Miss Mason bases all humanistic work on a study of history, and from the earliest age devotes much time to it, demanding from the first independent study on the part of the child. The books he is to use are selected with the greatest care; mere text-books and readers are discarded, and those of living interest chosen. Miss Mason allots a certain portion for the study of each class each term; the child reads part of this daily in lesson hours, and the teacher’s function is confined to directing the work, inspiring interest, and setting some test that demands reflection, eg calling on the child from time to time to narrate something of what he has read. During the term a great deal of ground is covered, and towards the end a few test questions sent by Miss Mason are answered, children who are too young to write dictating their answers to others.
Some hundreds of these answers were submitted to us for inspection and we are of opinion that they bear out Miss Mason’s belief that her system has succeeded; 1) in forming habits of concentration and of independent study at an early age; 2) in overcoming to a large extent the difficulties of English composition and spelling; 3) in imparting a considerable amount of knowledge of various kinds. We watched a small school at work on Miss Mason’s system and discussed freely with her various questions that were raised. Her testimony was supported by those present, who as parents or teachers had personal knowledge of the work, and in particular by the head-masters of two preparatory schools who have adopted the Parents Union scheme for their lower classes. Detailed information may be obtained from the Hon Secretary Mrs Franklin, 50 Porchester Terrace, London W.
Signed WC CoMPTON, Head Master Dover College
B FIELD HALL Principal High Cliff School Scarborough
MARGARET I GARDINER Head Mistress St Felix School Southwold
ETHEL GAv IN Head Mistress Notting Hill High School London
WCH GIBBs Principal Sloane Street Preparatory School
SW CECIL GRANT Head Master Keswick School
BERTRAM HAWKER Member of Education Committee South Australian Government F HAwkesworth
The Vicarage Ambleside LionEL HELBERT Principal West Downs Preparatory School Winchester
S HERON Head Mistress Wyggeston Girls High School Leicester
JULIA F Huxley Principal Prior’s Field Godalming
CYRIL JACKsoN formerly HMCI
L KJELLBERG Principal Fridhem King’s Lynn
C LowRY Head Master Sedbergh School
ER MURRAY Lecturer Maria Grey Training College
CLAUDE H PAREz formerly HMCI
MARY WOLSELEY LEWIS Head Mistress Church England High School Eaton Square SWE WoodHouse Head Mistress Clapham High School London
SWJ WYNNE EDwARDs Head Master Leeds Grammar School July 4 1906
Vol. 12, 1890;