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On Education, especially in early childhood, 1926, by Bertrand Russell

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 しかし,どうしても一般的(万人向け)にならないような教育方法は,満足すべきものと見なすことはできない。金持ちの子供には,母親のほかに,しばしば乳母や子守がついている上に,他の使用人たちに世話をしてもらうこともできる。これは,いかなる社会制度においても,決してすべての子供たちに与えられない量の世話を必要としている。注意深く世話をやいてもらっている子供が,不必要に(必要以上に)人に頼って生きるように習慣づけられる(寄生虫的にさせられる)ことで,本当に得をするか(利益を得るか)どうか,非常に疑わしい。しかし,いずれにせよ,'公平な人'なら誰も,精神薄弱あるいは天才とかいった,特別な理由のある場合を除いて,少数者のための'特別の便宜'を勧めることはできない。今日の賢い親は,可能であれば,実際,一般向け(万人向き)でない教育方法をわが子のために選ぶ傾向がある。そして,実験のためには,親たちが新しい方法を試してみる機会を持つことは望ましいことである。しかし,その新しい方法は,よい結果を生み出すことがわかった場合には,'万人向き'にされうるようなものであるべきであり,その性格上,ごく少数の特権階級に限定されるものであってはならない。幸いなことに,近代の教育理論と実際(実践)の最良の要素のいくつかは,極度に'民主的な起源'を持っている。たとえば,モンテッソーリ夫人(Maria Montessori, 1870-1952:イタリアの女医,幼児教育者)の仕事は,スラム(貧民街)の保育園から始まった。高等教育においては,特別の能力には特別な機会が不可欠である。しかし,その他の場合は,万人の利用できる制度を採用することによって,子供が苦しむ理由はまったくない。

Chap. 1 Postulates of Modern Educational Theory

This matter of democracy and education is one as to which clarity is important. It would be disastrous to insist upon a dead level of uniformity. Some boys and girls are cleverer than others, and can derive more benefit from higher education. Some teachers have been trained or have more native aptitude than others, but it is impossible that everybody should be taught by the few best teachers. Even if the highest education were desirable for all, which I doubt, it is impossible that all should have it at present, and therefore a crude application of democratic principles might lead to the conclusion that none should have it. Such a view, if adopted, would be fatal to scientific progress, and would make the general level of education a hundred years hence needlessly low. Progress should not be sacrificed to a mechanical equality at the present moment; we must approach educational democracy carefully, so as to destroy in the process as little as possible of the valuable products that happen to have been associated with social injustice.
But we cannot regard a method of education as satisfactory if it is one which could not possibly be universal. The children of rich people often have, in addition to their mother, a nurse, a nurserymaid, and a share in the other domestic servants; this involves an amount of attention which could never, in any social system, be given to all children. It is very doubtful whether carefully tended children really gain by being made unnecessarily parasitic, but in any case no impartial person can recommend special advantages for the few, except for special reasons, such as feeble-mindedness or genius. The wise parent, at the present day, is likely to choose, if he can, some method of education for his children which is not in fact universal, and for the sake of experiment it is desirable that parents should have the opportunity of trying new methods. But they ought to be such as could be made universal, if found to produce good results, not such as must from their very nature be confined to a privileged few. Fortunately, some of the best elements in modern educational theory and practice have had an extremely democratic origin; for example, Madame Montessori's work began with nursery schools in slums. In higher education exceptional opportunity for exceptional ability is indispensable, but otherwise there is no reason why any child should suffer from the adoption of systems which might be adopted by all.

(掲載日:2006.08.25 更新日:)