Monday, January 30, 2012

Johann Sturm: Selections from "Correct Opening of Elementary Schools of Letters", IV

"The virtues of the mind are ardor in understanding, zeal in searching, acumen in comprehending, industrious in accomplishing, and memory in preserving. For where these exist, there is also that integrity of mind of which Plato speaks--love of truth and hatred of what is false. It would be desirable if all such virtues were everywhere found alike in everyone, but this has not been ordained for man's nature which varies widely and is of many types. Those whose talents are found to be but mediocre, should not be rejected from school and elementary education. A judgment cannot be reached hastily and quickly. For some youths of keen mind and nature are at first slow to perceive, but in time and with practice later acquire speed in comprehension. Many youths display natures which lie asleep, oppressed by the dullness of the body. When informed and instructed they nevertheless emerge excellent and distinguished. In some there are excellent gifts of mental perception, but memory is at times slow and at times unreliable. Yet memory can be aroused by teaching and use. The primary concern is for the will which, when present, may be the hope for mental processes. If absent, it must first be stimulated with praise and promises, for many things that do not appear are merely latent...Yet the mediocre minds must also be endured and the poorer impulses of the mind can be improved with teaching and practice."

Johann Sturm (1507-1589), Johann Sturm on Education, Spitz and Tinsley (pg. 79)

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