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My excuse for venturing to offer a solution, however tentative and passing, to the problem of education is twofold.For between thirty and forty years I have laboured without pause to establish a working and philosophic theory of education; and in the next place, each article of the educational faith I offer has been arrived at by inductive processes; and has, I think, been verified by a long and wide series of experiments.(c) That the best way to turn our thoughts is to think of or do some quite different thing, entertaining or interesting.(d) That, after a little rest in this way, the will returns to its work with new vigour.The educational outlook is rather misty and depressing both at home and abroad.
In the former case reason is, perhaps, an infallible guide, but in the second it is not always a safe one; for whether that initial idea be right or wrong, reason will confirm it by irrefragable proofs. Therefore children should be taught, as they become mature enough to understand such teaching, that the chief responsibility which rests on them as persons is the acceptance or rejection of initial ideas.
By one more character shall we be able to recognise this perfect law of educational liberty when it shall be made evident.
It has been said that 'The best idea which we can form of absolute truth is that it is able to meet every condition by which it can be tested.' This we shall expect of our law––that it shall meet every test of experiment and every test of rational investigation.
It is not only a light, but a measure, providing a standard whereby all things, small and great, belonging to educational work must be tested.
The law is liberal, taking in whatsoever things are true, honest, and of good report, and offering no limitation or hindrance save where excess should injure.Those of us, who have spent many years in pursuing the benign and elusive vision of Education, perceive that her approaches are regulated by a law, and that this law has yet to be evoked. We know that it is pervasive; there is no part of a child's home-life or school-work which the law does not penetrate.