John Edgar (essay date 1914)
SOURCE: A review of Pedagogical Anthropology, in Mind, No. 91, July, 1914, pp. 433-34.
[In the following essay, Edgar reviews Montessori's Pedagogical Anthropology, noting that although there is little new in the collection of lectures, Montessori's enthusiasm for her subject is admirable.]
This volume [Pedagogical Anthropology] comprises the lectures delivered by Dr. Montessori during a period of four years in the Pedagogic School of the University of Rome.
In view of the great fame which her method of educating young children has won for the author, we opened the book with high expectations which have only partly been fulfilled. There is really little that is new in the volume, yet it glows with the enthusiasm of a teacher whose aim is not merely truth, but the betterment of society through its influence. Detailed technical discussions of such subjects as the principles of General Biology, Craniology, the Thorax, etc., are interspersed with digressions in which some social or pedagogical moral is pointed. Perhaps this is natural considering the fact that the lectures were intended to show the bearings of anthropology upon pedagogy. The plan at any rate was deliberately chosen. “The first chapter,” writes the author in the preface, “contains an outline of general biology, and at the same time biological and social generalisations concerning man considered from our point of view as educators.”
She would have education based upon and guided by the anatomical or anthropological characteristics of each child, and so safeguard and allow free development for individuality.
By this means she hopes on the one hand to deliver normal individuals from the blight and curse of uniformity and conventional commonplaceness, and on the other largely to do away with the need for prisons and hospitals. Schools for the abnormal and the subnormal, who would be early recognised from their family records and biometric charts, would be so multiplied and perfected that in time prisons and hospitals would practically cease to be required.
“If criminal anthropology has been able to revolutionise the penalty in modern civilisation, it is our duty to undertake, in the school of the future, to...
(The entire section is 957 words.)