THE ORIGIN AND IDEALS OF THE MODERN SCHOOL — Francisco Ferrer

£1.50

The manuscript of The Modern School was found among Ferrer’s papers after his judicial murder in 1909. In 1906, Ferrer had been arrested on the charge of complicity in Mateo Morral’s attempt to assassinate the King (he was the librarian at the Modern School) and was held in jail for a year, with the most scandalous efforts made, in the court and the country, to secure a judicial murder; but it was a civil (or civilised) trial, and the charge was contemptuously rejected. Going to the Pyrenees in the early summer of 1908 to recuperate, Ferrer determined to write the simple story of his school, and it is this that is now offered to English readers.
Francisco Ferrer began to formulate his educationalist ideas in parallel with the development of his anarchism. While a teacher of Spanish in France he began to see, by close observation, that the injustice and exploitation in society was not only the result of authoritarian educational methods, but also more importantly the result of what was taught by these authoritarian methods. Ferrer soon understood that as long as the education of children, the adults of tomorrow, was left in the hands of both the church and the ruling classes there would be no hope of attaining the libertarian society that he, as an anarchist, longed for. Reform of the existing school system, he thought, was futile. Explaining the working of this system in his little book La Escuela Moderna, published after his judicial murder, he wrote: “Education” means in practice domination or domestication. I do not imagine that these systems have not been put together with the deliberate aim of securing the desired results. That would be the work of a genius. But things have happened just as if the actual scheme of education corresponded ‘ to some vast and deliberate conception; it could not have been done better. To attain it teachers have inspired themselves solely with the principles of discipline and authority, which always appeal to social organisers; such men have only one clear idea and one will – the children must learn to obey, to believe, and to think according to the prevailing social dogmas. If this were the aim, education could not be other than we find it today. There is no question of promoting the spontaneous development of the child’s faculties, – or encouraging it to seek freely the satisfaction of the physical, intellectual and moral needs. There is question only of imposing ready-made ideas on it, of preventing it from ever thinking otherwise than is required for the maintenance of existing social institutions – of it, in a word, an individual‘ rigorously adapted to the social mechanism.”
And describing the teachers he wrote:
“…The teachers are merely conscious or unconscious organs of their (the ruling classes) will, and have been trained on their principles. From their tenderest years, and more drastically than anybody, they have endured the discipline of authority. Very few have escaped this despotic domination; they are generally powerless against ii, because they are oppressed by the scholastic organisation to such an extent that they have nothing to do but obey …”
He was, therefore, convinced that the only way to regenerate society was through a new system of education. An education Ferrer preferred to call rationalist, which we would call libertarian, free from all dogmas and systems whether they be religious, political, nationalistic, republican or what you will. To this end, on being left a substantial sum of money, Ferrer returned to Spain where, after much preparation, his school, La Escuela Moderna, was opened in Barcelona in September 1901.

SKU: SKU-258 Categories: , ,

Description

0 Shares

The manuscript of The Modern School was found among Ferrer’s papers after his judicial murder in 1909. In 1906, Ferrer had been arrested on the charge of complicity in Mateo Morral’s attempt to assassinate the King (he was the librarian at the Modern School) and was held in jail for a year, with the most scandalous efforts made, in the court and the country, to secure a judicial murder; but it was a civil (or civilised) trial, and the charge was contemptuously rejected. Going to the Pyrenees in the early summer of 1908 to recuperate, Ferrer determined to write the simple story of his school, and it is this that is now offered to English readers. Francisco Ferrer began to formulate his educationalist ideas in parallel with the development of his anarchism. While a teacher of Spanish in France he began to see, by close observation, that the injustice and exploitation in society was not only the result of authoritarian educational methods, but also more importantly the result of what was taught by these authoritarian methods. Ferrer soon understood that as long as the education of children, the adults of tomorrow, was left in the hands of both the church and the ruling classes there would be no hope of attaining the libertarian society that he, as an anarchist, longed for. Reform of the existing school system, he thought, was futile. Explaining the working of this system in his little book La Escuela Moderna, published after his judicial murder, he wrote: “Education” means in practice domination or domestication. I do not imagine that these systems have not been put together with the deliberate aim of securing the desired results. That would be the work of a genius. But things have happened just as if the actual scheme of education corresponded ‘ to some vast and deliberate conception; it could not have been done better. To attain it teachers have inspired themselves solely with the principles of discipline and authority, which always appeal to social organisers; such men have only one clear idea and one will – the children must learn to obey, to believe, and to think according to the prevailing social dogmas. If this were the aim, education could not be other than we find it today. There is no question of promoting the spontaneous development of the child’s faculties, – or encouraging it to seek freely the satisfaction of the physical, intellectual and moral needs. There is question only of imposing ready-made ideas on it, of preventing it from ever thinking otherwise than is required for the maintenance of existing social institutions – of it, in a word, an individual‘ rigorously adapted to the social mechanism.” And describing the teachers he wrote: “…The teachers are merely conscious or unconscious organs of their (the ruling classes) will, and have been trained on their principles. From their tenderest years, and more drastically than anybody, they have endured the discipline of authority. Very few have escaped this despotic domination; they are generally powerless against ii, because they are oppressed by the scholastic organisation to such an extent that they have nothing to do but obey …” He was, therefore, convinced that the only way to regenerate society was through a new system of education. An education Ferrer preferred to call rationalist, which we would call libertarian, free from all dogmas and systems whether they be religious, political, nationalistic, republican or what you will. To this end, on being left a substantial sum of money, Ferrer returned to Spain where, after much preparation, his school, La Escuela Moderna, was opened in Barcelona in September 1901.

Related

0 Shares