« PreviousContinue »
PROFESSORS OF GEOGRAPHY.
In the secondary schools of France the teaching of geography is intrusted to a professor of history and geography.
Some of the particular friends of geography have asked, and they yet ask, that geography be assigned to a special professor; that an examination (agrégation) in geography be established, and, at the superior normal school, a section of geography to prepare for this examination. In support of these claims they offer some arguments that are impressive, though not entirely conclusive. They urge, for example, that certain scientific or economic knowledge is necessary for the geographer but superfluous for the historian. Their views appear to have been regarded with little favor. Doubtless, in some large lycées, it might be advantageous to intrust classes in geography to one professor, but in small establishments this would be impracticable.
On the other side, many teachers, like myself, think that in specializing too much the work of the teachers in secondary schools there is danger of narrowing their horizon and perhaps of pushing instruction into needless detail. In the primary school one teacher gives the whole of the instruction; in the chairs of higher instruction specialization becomes necessary; but secondary schools occupy an intermediary position. Now, between history and geography there are relations sufficiently close to prevent the one from being incompatible with the other. It is not more difficult to acquire the special knowledge which topography, drawing of charts, etc., require than that required for the understanding of chronology or the reading of ancient manuscripts.
Professors of history and geography ought to be furnished with diplomas that attest their capacity. The first is a licentiate in history; the second, which is the definitive sanction of a professorship, is the "agrégation." The licentiate is an examination which candidates already possessed of the bachelor degree undergo before the faculty of letters, before whom ordinarily they are not prepared to present themselves until after two years of special studies. The agrégation is a very difficult examination, which is held every year before a jury appointed by the minister. In order to be admitted to this the applicant must be a licentiate. The examination for the title of agrégé since 1895 has been modified and divided into two series of trials. The first, consisting of a thesis, explanation of a text, lesson, and discussion, is held before the professors of the faculty under whom the candidate has studied; the second, freed from these preliminaries, takes place before a special jury.
Candidates for "licentiate" and "agrégation" prepare themselves-the former in the superior normal school, which they enter only by competitive examination; the latter in the faculties, where "bourses" are bestowed on the most deserving. In the primary school it is well for teachers to follow strictly the official programme and conform themselves as much as possible to the prescribed method. In the secondary it is desirable to leave more of initiative to professors, whilst requiring of them to cover their programme. We must not confine them by too minute rules, as I have said, in agreement with my friend M. Himly, in submitting to the minister the project of the programmes for 1872. According to the nature of his own mind and the degree of advancement of his pupils the teacher should be able to insist on such or such a portion, so as to make more prominent those which seem to him more likely to excite interest and to group them as he judges best. It is important that geography be known, and to that end it behooves that instruction in it have variety and movement, so that both teachers and pupils can find it attractive. Now, it is in leaving to the teacher full liberty to exert himself within the requirements of a general plan and to manage details as he sees fit that instruction becomes attractive. The only point on which the administration and inspection should show themselves exacting is that of results.
The pamphlet of M. Levasseur concludes with higher instruction, all of which, with the exception of programme and some of the notes, is given in full.
In France higher education is divided between faculties and special establishments.
FACULTIES AND SPECIAL SCHOOLS OF FRANCE.
The chairs of geography belong to the_faculty of letters. At this time (1895) there is a chair at Bordeaux, at Lille, Lyons, and Nancy. There is a course at Caen, a complementary course at Aix and at Grenoble, a teacher (master of conférences) at Montpellier and Toulouse, a chair of history and geography of modern times at Besançon, and a chair of history and geography, of antiquity and of the Middle Age at Clermont. At the higher school of Algiers a course is maintained in the geography of Africa.
The faculty of letters at Paris comprises a chair of geography, founded in 1809, the first and only one that existed for a long time, and one of colonial geography founded in 1892.
From these chairs has resulted a sort of "seminary" or "laboratory," founded in 1890, and reserved for students of the faculty who have a special vocation for geography. In the class rooms of geography they find facilities for their work and directions for their studies. Since 1895 a scientific bureau of colonial studies has been annexed, under the direction of a professor of colonial geography and his assistant, the secretary. The students who there prepare for the “agrégation,” if not by the regulations, at least by the tradition of teachers, must follow the course for at least four years, two for licentiate in historico-geography and two for the "agrégation."
There is, besides, a course of physical geography annexed to the faculty of sciences in Paris; at Lyons and at Nancy the professor of geography of the faculty of science makes a complementary course or a conference" of physical geography. At Lyons a professor has special charge of a course in ethnology. At Nancy, for the young men who are preparing for "agrégation," have been lately established four courses of geography in the faculty of sciences, besides special lessons by the professor of geography of the faculty of letters.
The free faculty of Paris has a course of physical geography by M. de Lapparent, professor of geology. That of Tulle has one course, and the preparatory schools of Nantes and Rouen one each.
Geography has close connections with the sciences, hence professors of science may properly teach it. In the general report on the teaching of history and geography, which my colleague, M. Himly, and myself made to the minister of public instruction in 1871, we asked that a chair in geography should be added to the faculties in the provinces, as it has been since 1809 in the faculty of letters in Paris (I have already said that at that time there were no others); that meanwhile the minister should favor the opening of annexed courses, municipal or free, and would endow faculties, whenever the professors would request it, with funds sufficient for geographic instruction. We were of the opinion also that some of the professors of sciences could undertake the new instruction, and that it would be desirable to induce the professors of history to make a place for geography in their courses. On that last point I think we were mistaken. In higher instruction only specialization, which does not mean narrowness in general knowledge and conception, is fruitful.
In explaining the production and the shape of land the geologists can open wide prospect to the science of geography, but geology does not cover all the secrets and all the riches of that science. Meteorology, botany, zoology, topography, hydrography, have much to impart, not counting mathematics. The master's diversity of aptitudes makes for the advantage of science. Even in the faculty of letters I am far from regretting that geography is in the hands of the professors of history. I have said that I should not advise their separation, but in higher instruction I would rather distrust such association, because, while the professor himself might be a specialist in both kinds, time would be lacking for the teaching of both. One is probably sacrificed for the other, and generally that is geography.
The subjects treated for several years by M. Auerbach, professor of the college of Nancy, are as follows: The Lorraine region, the central plateau, the Loire, French colonies in the nineteenth century, the ethnography of eastern Europe, the United States, Australia, the colonization in Oceanica. The professor also devotes a portion of his lessons to a general review of geogra phy. This year he has established a small special class to prepare for the "agrégation," in which he has studied with his pupils the geographic distribution of the population of France, and the altitude, relief, and character of the soil.
It should be noted, however, that M. Ouvré, professor of the faculty of letters at Aix, presented a course of commercial geography at Marseilles at the expense of the Chamber of Com merce, and at Nancy, M. Pingaud, professor at the lycée, a special course of geography at the faculty of letters.
The College of France has two chairs devoted, at least in part, to geographythe chair of geography, history, and economic statistics, and that of the historical geography of France.
At the Practical School of Higher Studies. M. Longnon presents a course in the historical geography of France. At the Museum of Natural History several courses, without including geography by name, treat of matters connected with it and in such a manner that often and with great profit to the hearers they enter upon the very domain of geography. Moreover, the director of the museum has instituted, for the benefit of travelers and outside of the ordinary courses, spec al lectures bearing on geography exclusively.
I mention only the principal special schools in which geography is taught. At the Superior Normal School, where the students, admitted through competition, pass three years in preparing for a professorship and offer themselves for the agrégation" at their graduation, proficiency in geography is required of those who are aiming for a fellowship in history and geography. It is in the second year that they begin specialization. which is complete at the beginning of the third. There are three conferences" in geography a week, each of an hour and a half. Only one of these is common to students of the second and third year. The professor, in the round of two years, treats the principal subject of general geography and of method. Cecasionally place is made there for a lesson by a student or for the examination of a thesis written on a subject assigned several months before. The two other "conferences" are only for students of the third year and are made up of exercises in common.
One of the class, for twenty minutes or three-quarters of an hour, according to the nature of the question, discusses a subject that has been assigned to him several days beforehand. The professor briefly criticises the paper. The rest of the conference is spent in discussion or in the exchange of ideas on the subject. As the number of pupils is, on an average, not one-half dozen, all may take part. At the Normal School of Sèvres, which prepares women teachers for secondary instruction, there are some special" conferences" in geography. At the school of St. Cyr and the higher military school, pupils pursue the course of military geography and undergo examinations. The Free School of Political Sciences has a regular course of commercial and statistical geography, of geography and ethnography, and some optional courses in geography and military organization, and of the geography of the extreme Orient. The colonial school has some courses relating to geography. The School of Oriental Languages has a course in the geography, history, and legislation of the extreme Orient. The school of advanced commercial studies has a course in economic geography, as have also the higher commercial schools.
At the National Agronomic Institute the course of comparative agriculture, founded by the professor on a thorough study of climatology and geology, has a pronounced character of economic geography.
CHARACTER OF HIGHER INSTRUCTION.
In higher instruction it would not suit to have either a common programme or uniform method. Each professor has his own special mission.
In the greater number of special schools, such as the superior normal school, for example, students are prepared for a set examination, and to that end they must
Here are the subjects taught in 1894-95:
First part, M. Levasseur, professor. (1) The great thoroughfares of commerce in the ancient and in the middle ages; (2) commercial revolutions and the courses of commerce since the discovery of America; (3) history of routes and roads in France; (4) summary history of railroads; (5) railroads of France: (6) receipts and expenses of the railroads of France; (7) railroads in Europe and other countries; (8) rivers and canals; (9) history of navigation and the merchant marine; (10) marine and navigation; (11) influence of the improvement of ways of communication in the nineteenth century; (12) the commerce of France: (13) history of French commerce and survey of the commerce of the world; (14) general principles of statistics.
Secon i part, M. A. de Foville, professor. (1) Geographical distribution of people considered as producers and as consumers: burden on human industry resulting from the variety and extent of our needs, food, clothing, and lodging, etc.; (2 and 3) food, the question of bread, statistics of cereals, production and consumption of wheat, present state of the commerce in grains, standard of prices: (4) the question of meat; beasts for butchery; statistics of cattle of all countries. resources, and needs; consumption of meat; development of cattle breeding; (5) wine, the geography of vine, production, and consumption; crises in vine culture; present condition; (6) fuel: geography of coal beds; production and consumption; prices; future of coal industry in various parts of the earth; (7) iron, its melting; steel; distribution and production of iron; transforination and progress of iron-working: present situation: (8 and 9) clothing: textile industry: textiles; their comparative value and distribution throughout the world; production and consumption; flax, jute, cotton, wool, silk, thread, and vestments; (10 and 11) the precious metals; history; production and consumption: relative value of gold and silver; changes in the power of money; existing problems; conclusions.
follow a certain programme, although in general not bound to study every matter contained in it. In the faculties they are more free to choose their subjects, although they must regulate the same according to the preparation for the licentiate or the "agrégation."
At the College of France the student is entirely free, and every year, with the approbation of all the professors, he makes his own choice of studies in the course. In 1894-95 M. Longnon, professor of historic geography of France, taught the description of the two Aquitaines and "Novempopulanie" at the decline of the Roman period. In my course on geography, history, and economic statistics I have treated of the economic development of the United States (agriculture and mines).1
In the special schools there are none but students; in the faculties there are both students and hearers. At the College of France, whose courses do not have any examination, there are simply hearers (that is, those who attend the lectures).
The value of a course of superior instruction depends entirely on the culture and the capacity of the teacher. Hence there is nothing to prescribe as to the manner of proceeding. To advance science, to extend the knowledge of it, and to create a taste for it, such is the end; to interest by instructing is what should be recommended; but it pertains to the teacher alone to find the means of success, and he must be left free in his action.
As in secondary instruction, it is important that the professor have a good supply of wall maps and blackboards.
If the professor has only hearers, it is by public lectures that he exercises his scientific influence, supplementing his lectures by special instructions for those who ask this help. If he has pupils, it is necessary not only to teach by lectures, but incite them to work themselves, and to direct their work, giving them now and then subjects to treat and showing them how to make researches, how to study a question, and how to explain it in oral and written terms.
PUBLICATIONS, LIBRARIES, AND GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETIES.
Scientific publications, journals, reviews, books, and geographical societies contribute to develop a taste for the study and popularize it; this is one way of instruction.
To say nothing of political journals, some of which often contain interesting information, I will mention among those periodicals specially consecrated to geography in France, Annales de Géographie, a recent quarterly publication; La Revue de Géographie, a monthly which has been in existence nineteen years; L'Annuaire du club alpin, the Bulletins of the society of geography, and the Society of commercial geography of Paris, also those of the provinces; the Bulletin of the Committee of French-Africa; Le Tour du Monde, Le Journal des Voyages, a very popular publication; Le Moniteur Officiel du Commerce, La Revue Maritime et Coloniale, La Revue Internationale de Géographie, La Topographie, etc.
Among the societies are La Société de géographie at Paris, the oldest of its kind; La Société de géographie commerciale de Paris, Le Club Alpin, La Société Africaine, La Société des Études Coloniales, La Société de Topographie, La Société indochinoise, La Société géographie de Marseille, La Société de géographie commerciale de Bordeaux, La Société de géographie de Lyon, La Société Normande de géographie de Rouen, La Société de géographie de l'est à Nancy, La Société de géographie de Lille, L'Union géographique du nord de la France à Douai, La
1 Course of 1893-94: (Opening lecture) The Chicago Exposition; American chartography; geology; relief of the soil and great physical divisions (3 lectures). Basin of the Mississippi; basin of the Atlantic; the Indians; foundation of colonies; territorial formation of the United States. The Constitution of the United States (2 lectures). The States; local government; justice; parties; party platforms (2 lectures). Slavery; black population; immigration to the United States (4 lectures). Education, primary instruction, pedagogic organization; pupils; secondary instruction (2 lectures). Results of pedagogic statistics, religions; religion and morals. Course of 1894-95: (1) General review of the preceding course and the social state of the United States; (2) soil and climate; (3) culture in former periods; (4) occupation of the country; (5) transfer of public lands; (6) homestead exemption; (7) rural property; (8) cultivation; (9) tools and implements; (10) mortgage debts; (11) farm laborer and his wages; (12) maize and wheat; (13) wheat and other cereals and potatoes; (14) tobacco, sugar, and cotton; (15) cotton and vegetables: (16) vegetables, fruits, and flowers; (17) fruits, forests: (18 and 19) forests continued: (20) beasts in general, the horse; (21) oxen; (22) sheep and pigs; (23) commerce in wheat; (24 and 25) commerce in meat; (26) exportation of agricultural products; (27) commerce of meat and cereals in all countries; (28) commerce of meat; (29) general movement of commerce of the products of the earth; (30) abundance of food, rents; (31) influence of money on the lowering of prices; (32) values of agricultural products and manufactures compared; (33) combustible minerals: (34) minerals and metals; (35) usual metals besides iron; (36) mineral iron; (37) iron casting and steel; (38) gold; (39) silver; (40) production of precious metals; (41) general view of the influence of the production of precious metals on prices and on circulation.
Société de géographie de Valenciennes, La Société de géographie languedocienne à Montpellier, La Société de géographie de Nantes, La Société bretonne de géographie, à Lorient, La Société de géographie du centre de la France, à Tours, La Société de Géographie de Rochefort, La Société de géographie_commerciale du Havre, La Société de géographie commerciale de St. Nazaire, La Société bourguignonne de géographie, La Société de géographie de l'Aube.
The committee of historical and scientific works in the ministry of public instruction, one of whose functions is to serve as a means of maintaining the union between Societies of Savants, comprises five sections, one of which is that of historical and descriptive geography.
Several of the ministries contribute by their publications to the development of the geographic sciences-the ministry of public instruction through the committee of historical and scientific works, the ministry of war through the geographic service of the army, which is charged with keeping up to date the military map of the French staff, which is on a scale of boo, and the whole cartographic work of the ministry; the ministry of marine through the depot of marine charts and plans; the ministry of the interior through the preparation of a map on a scale of To of a meter; the ministry of public works through the publication of its map (scale goooo, unfinished), and a graphic album of statistics, etc. The ministry of foreign affairs has some very valuable cartographic archives. The ministry of the colonies has recently created a geographic service, the direction of which has been assigned to a fellow (agrégé) in history and geography. Independently of the cartographic riches possessed by general libraries, especially the national library, which has a very valuable department of geography, there are several libraries specially devoted to geography that, with more or less liberality, are open to the public: The Library of the Society of Geography, that of the Society of Commercial Geography, of the Depository of Marine Charts, of the Higher Military School, of the Superior Normal School, the library of the Sorbonne, etc.
EFFORTS TO PROMOTE GEOGRAPHICAL STUDY IN AUSTRALIA.
It is interesting to note in this connection efforts to promote geographical study in British colonies. The Royal Geographical Society of Australasia has been active in this respect. The Queensland branch of this society effected a relation with the Brisbane Technical College in 1894, by which a class in commercial geography was established at the Brisbane Technical College under the auspices of the society. The initiation and conduct of the movement was intrusted to Mr. J. P. Thomson, at the time the honorable secretary of the society, and subsequently elected to the presidency. Mr. Thomson has been indefatigable in the endeavor to promote interest in this subject. He has also greatly assisted by his researches, and published works to increase the actual knowledge of the geography of Australia. In common with other authorities cited in this chapter, he urges the special importance of teaching children the geography of their native land. In his presidential address delivered at the anniversary meeting of the Geographical Society in 1895, he said:
It is not to our credit as a people that while our school children are crammed with what after all is only a superficial and inadequate knowledge of all other parts of the world, little attention is given to our own country, to our industries, or to our natural and artificial resources. To the credit, be it said, of a publicspirited journal, the subject of our national industries has recently received special treatment, and it is hoped the Courier, to which I particularly refer, will devote equal time and attention to other phases of our partially, or wholly, undeveloped
1The Physical Geography of Australia. Anniversary address of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia, July 22, 1895, by the president, J. P. Johmson, F. R. S. G. S. F. S. Sc. (London).