Page 11, 4th November 1938

4th November 1938
Page 11

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Organisations: Board of Education


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From Our Educational Correspondent So many books are written on " education " from the standpoint of some transient phase or in support of some " ism " that it is a distinct relief to your correspondent to receive one in which the author digs down beneath the surface to present a basic philosophy on which to formulate a consistent theory.

I Believe in Education, by Edward A. Fitzpatrick (Sheed and Ward, 7s. 6d.), I like particularly because the author sets out to fill his personal "need in educational philosophy for a spiritual, humanistic centre about which all the problems of education would be organised."

" I Believe . ."

Mr. Fitzpatrick uses a novel and convincing form in presenting his thesis. He begins nearly every chapter with " I believe " and he does not use the word " believe " in slapdash manner, but shows the basis of his faith.

Chapter I begins with " I believe in education as the remedy for the spiritual and economic disintegration of our civilisa tion," and the final chapter begins : " I believe that in this organisation we make actual an aim or ideal or purpose. The educational organisation must be permeated by the idea, purpose or aim which underlies it."

" Hopelessly Mediaeval " To some of the moderns who base their theories of education on a denial of original sin or of " morals " he would seem hopelessly mediaeval with his "I believe in the very great significance of the sacramental life in the individual as spiritually and socially formative."

His chapter on " Religious Inheritance " would, to them, seem incredibly narrowminded. because it begins: " 1 believe we must face the fact of the significance of religion in the life of an individual and of the people. We seem to think that because there are religious differences among us religion can be blinked at or entirely disregarded. We talk foolishly about a least common denomination ' of our religious differences, and call that impossible thing religion. It is non-existent. There is no least common denominator, for example, between Catholicism and Protestantism. They are diverse in principle, diverse in origin, diverse in the principle of authority, diverse in the meaning of the terms both use."

" Narrow and Shallow "

Mr. Fitzpatrick has presented a book on education which makes most others seem narrow and shallow. He has also presented a challenge to parents, teachers, school managers, directors of education, members of education committees and the Board of Education, which, if taken up, would lead to the recasting of our whole scheme and organisation to the advantage of the children and the State.

The Hadow Report and the 1936 Education Act could bear revision on the lines laid down in this credo.

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