Ontario Normal School Manuals: Science of Education
by Ontario Ministry of Education
1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse






Second Printing, 1919. Third Printing, 1923.





NATURE AND PURPOSE OF EDUCATION 1 Conditions of Growth and Development 2 Worth in Human Life 4 Factors in Social Efficiency 6


FORMS OF REACTION 9 Instinctive Reaction 9 Habitual Reaction 10 Conscious Reaction 11 Factors in process 12 Experience 13 Relative value of experiences 15 Influence of Conscious Reaction 17


PROCESS OF EDUCATION 19 Conscious Adjustment 19 Education as Adjustment 19 Education as Control of Adjustment 22 Requirements of the Instructor 24


THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM 25 Purposes of Curriculum 25 Dangers in Use of Curriculum 28


EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS 34 The School 34 Other Educative Agents 35 The church 35 The home 36 The vocation 36 Other institutions 36


THE PURPOSE OF THE SCHOOL 38 Civic Views 38 Individualistic Views 40 The Eclectic View 43


DIVISIONS OF EDUCATIONAL STUDY 46 Control of Experience 46 The Instructor's Problems 48 General method 49 Special methods 49 School management 50 History of education 50




GENERAL METHOD 52 Subdivisions of Method 52 Method and Mind 53


THE LESSON PROBLEM 55 Nature of Problem 55 Need of Problem 57 Pupil's Motive 59 Awakening Interest 61 Knowledge of Problem 67 How to Set Problem 69 Examples of Motivation 71


LEARNING AS A SELECTING ACTIVITY 75 The Selecting Process 77 Law of Preparation 82 Value of preparation 83 Precautions 84 Necessity of preparation 85 Examples of preparation 86


LEARNING AS A RELATING ACTIVITY 89 Nature of Synthesis 90 Interaction of Processes 91 Knowledge unified 94


APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE 95 Types of Action 96 Nature of Expression 97 Types of Expression 99 Value of Expression 100 Dangers of Omitting 102 Expression and Impression 103


FORMS OF LESSON PRESENTATION 106 The Lecture Method 106 The Text-book Method 109 Uses of text-book 111 Abuse of text-book 113 The Developing Method 113 The Objective Method 116 The Illustrative Method 118 Precautions 119 Modes of Presentation Compared 121



Acquisition of Particular Knowledge 122 Through senses 122 Through imagination 122 By deduction 123 Acquisition of General Knowledge 124 By conception 124 By induction 125 Applied knowledge general 126 Processes of Acquiring Knowledge Similar 127


MODES OF LEARNING 129 Development of Particular Knowledge 129 Learning through senses 129 Learning through imagination 131 Learning by deduction 133 Examples for study 137 Development of General Knowledge 139 The conceptual lesson 139 The inductive lesson 140 The formal steps 141 Conception as learning process 143 Induction as learning process 144 Further examples 145 The inductive-deductive lesson 148


THE LESSON UNIT 150 Whole to Parts 151 Parts to Whole 154 Precautions 155


LESSON TYPES 156 The Study Lesson 157 The Recitation Lesson 160 Conducting recitation lesson 161 The Drill Lesson 162 The Review Lesson 165 The topical review 166 The comparative review 169


QUESTIONING 171 Qualifications of Good Questioner 171 Purposes of Questioning 173 Socratic Questioning 174 The Question 177 The Answer 179 Limitations 181




CONSCIOUSNESS 183 Value of Educational Psychology 186 Limitations 186 Methods of Psychology 187 Phases of Consciousness 189


MIND AND BODY 192 The Nervous System 192 The Cortex 198 Reflex Acts 199 Characteristics of Nervous Matter 202


INSTINCT 207 Human Instincts 209 Curiosity 214 Imitation 217 Play 221 Play in education 223


HABIT 226 Formation of Habits 230 Value of Habits 231 Improvement of Habits 234


ATTENTION 237 Attention Selective 240 Involuntary Attention 243 Non-voluntary Attention 245 Voluntary Attention 246 Attention in Education 251


THE FEELING OF INTEREST 257 Classes of Feelings 258 Interest in Education 261 Development of interests 264


SENSE PERCEPTION 267 Genesis of Perception 270 Factors in Sensation 273 Classification of Sensations 274 Education of the Senses 276


MEMORY AND APPERCEPTION 282 Distinguished 283 Factors of Memory 284 Conditions of Memory 285 Types of Recall 288 Localization of Time 290 Classification of Memories 290 Memory in Education 291 Apperception 293 Conditions of Apperception 294 Factors in Apperception 296


IMAGINATION 298 Types of Imagination 299 Passive 299 Active 300 Uses of Imagination 301


THINKING 304 Conception 305 Factors in concept 309 Aims of conceptual lessons 310 The definition 313 Judgment 315 Errors in judgment 317 Reasoning 320 Deduction 320 Induction 323 Development of Reasoning Power 328


FEELING 330 Conditions of Feeling Tone 331 Sensuous Feelings 334 Emotion 334 Conditions of emotion 335 Other Types of Feeling 340 Mood 340 Disposition 340 Temperament 340 Sentiments 341


THE WILL 342 Types of Movement 342 Development of Control 343 Volition 345 Factors in volitional act 346 Abnormal Types of Will 348


CHILD STUDY 352 Methods of Child Study 355 Periods of Development 358 Infancy 358 Childhood 359 Adolescence 361 Individual Differences 363







Value of Scientific Knowledge.—In the practice of any intelligent occupation or art, in so far as the practice attains to perfection, there are manifested in the processes certain scientific principles and methods to which the work of the one practising the art conforms. In the successful practice, for example, of the art of composition, there are manifested the principles of rhetoric; in that of housebuilding, the principles of architecture; and in that of government, the principles of civil polity. In practising any such art, moreover, the worker finds that a knowledge of these scientific principles and methods will guide him in the correct practice of the art,—a knowledge of the science of rhetoric assisting in the art of composition; of the science of architecture, in the art of housebuilding; and of the science of civil polity, in the art of government.

The Science of Education.—If the practice of teaching is an intelligent art, there must, in like manner, be found in its processes certain principles and methods which may be set forth in systematic form as a science of education, and applied by the educator in the art of teaching. Assuming the existence of a science of education, it is further evident that the student-teacher should make himself acquainted with its leading principles, and likewise learn to apply these principles in his practice of the art of teaching. To this end, however, it becomes necessary at the outset to determine the limits of the subject-matter of the science. We shall, therefore, first consider the general nature and purpose of education so far as to decide the facts to be included in this science.


A. Physical Growth.—Although differing in their particular conception of the nature of education, all educators agree in setting the child as the central figure in the educative process. As an individual, the child, like other living organisms, develops through a process of inner changes which are largely conditioned by outside influences. In the case of animals and plants, physical growth, or development, is found to consist of changes caused in the main through the individual responding to external stimulation. Taking one of the simplest forms of animal life, for example, the amoeba, we find that when stimulated by any foreign matter not constituting its food, say a particle of sand, such an organism at once withdraws itself from the stimulating elements. On the other hand, if it comes in contact with suitable food, the amoeba not only flows toward it, but by assimilating it, at once begins to increase in size, or grow, until it finally divides, or reproduces, itself as shown in the following figures. Hence the amoeba as an organism is not only able to react appropriately toward different stimuli, but is also able to change itself, or develop, by its appropriate reactions upon such stimulations.

In plant life, also, the same principle holds. As long as a grain of corn, wheat, etc., is kept in a dry place, the life principle stored up within the seed is unable to manifest itself in growth. When, on the other hand, it is appropriately stimulated by water, heat, and light, the seed awakens to life, or germinates. In other words, the seed reacts upon the external stimulations of water, heat, and light, and manifests the activity known as growth, or development. Thus all physical growth, whether of the plant or the animal, is conditioned on the energizing of the inherent life principle, in response to appropriate stimulation of the environment.

B. Development in Human Life.—In addition to its physical nature, human life has within it a spiritual law, or principle, which enables the individual to respond to suitable stimulations and by that means develop into an intelligent and moral being. When, for instance, waves of light from an external object stimulate the nervous system through the eye, man is able, through his intelligent nature, to react mentally upon these stimulations and, by interpreting them, build up within his experience conscious images of light, colour, and form. In like manner, when the nerves in the hand are stimulated by an external object, the mind is able to react upon the impressions and, by interpreting them, obtain images of touch, temperature, and weight. In the sphere of action, also, the child who is stimulated by the sight of his elder pounding with a hammer, sweeping with a broom, etc., reacts imitatively upon such stimulations, and thus acquires skill in action. So also when stimulated by means of his human surroundings, as, for example, through the kindly acts of his mother, father, etc., he reacts morally toward these stimulations and thus develops such social qualities as sympathy, love, and kindness. Nor are the conditions of development different in more complex intellectual problems. If a child is given nine blocks on which are printed the nine digits, and is asked to arrange them in the form of a square so that each of the horizontal and the vertical columns will add up to fifteen, there is equally an inner growth through stimulation and response. In such a case, since the answer is unknown to the child, the problem serves as a stimulation to his mind. Furthermore, it is only by reacting upon this problem with his present knowledge of the value of the various digits when combined in threes, as 1, 6, 8; 5, 7, 3; 9, 2, 4; 1, 5, 9; etc., that the necessary growth of knowledge relative to the solution of the problem will take place within the mind.


But the possession of an intellectual and moral nature which responds to appropriate stimulations implies, also, that as man develops intellectually, he will find meaning in human life as realized in himself and others. Thus he becomes able to recognize worth in human life and to determine the conditions which favour its highest growth, or development.

The Worthy Life not a Natural Growth.—Granting that it is thus possible to recognize that "life is not a blank," but that it should develop into something of worth, it by no means follows that the young child will adequately recognize and desire a worthy life, or be able to understand and control the conditions which make for its development. Although, indeed, there is implanted in his nature a spiritual tendency, yet his early interests are almost wholly physical and his attitude impulsive and selfish. Left to himself, therefore, he is likely to develop largely as a creature of appetite, controlled by blind passions and the chance impressions of the moment. Until such time, therefore, as he obtains an adequate development of his intellectual and moral life, his behaviour conforms largely to the wants of his physical nature, and his actions are irrational and wasteful. Under such conditions the young child, if left to himself to develop in accordance with his native tendencies through the chance impressions which may stimulate him from without, must fall short of attaining to a life of worth. For this reason education is designed to control the growth, or development, of the child, by directing his stimulations and responses in such a way that his life may develop into one of worth.

Character of the Worthy Life.—If, however, it is possible to add to the worth of the life of the child by controlling and modifying his natural reactions, the first problem confronting the scientific educator is to decide what constitutes a life of worth. This question belongs primarily to ethics, or the science of right living, to which the educator must turn for his solution. Here it will be learned that the higher life is one made up of moral relations. In other words, the perfect man is a social man and the perfect life is a life made up of social rights and duties, wherein one is able to realize his own good in conformity with the good of others, and seek his own happiness by including within it the happiness of others. But to live a life of social worth, man must gain such control over his lower physical wants and desires that he can conform them to the needs and rights of others. He must, in other words, in adapting himself to his social environment, develop a sense of duty toward his fellows which will cause him to act in co-operation with others. He must refuse, for instance, to satisfy his own want by causing want to others, or to promote his own desires by giving pain to others. Secondly, he must obtain such control over his physical surroundings, including his own body, that he is able to make these serve in promoting the common good. In the worthy life, therefore, man has so adjusted himself to his fellow men that he is able to co-operate with them, and has so adjusted himself to his physical surroundings that he is able to make this co-operation effective, and thus live a socially efficient life.


A. Knowledge, a Factor in Social Efficiency.—The following simple examples will more fully demonstrate the factors which enter into the socially efficient life. The young child, for instance, who lives on the shore of one of our great lakes, may learn through his knowledge of colour to distinguish between the water and the sky on the horizon line. This knowledge, he finds, however, does not enter in any degree into his social life within the home. When on the same basis, however, he learns to distinguish between the ripe and the unripe berries in the garden, he finds this knowledge of service in the community, or home, life, since it enables him to distinguish the fruit his mother may desire for use in the home. One mark of social efficiency, therefore, is to possess knowledge that will enable us to serve effectively in society.

B. Skill, a Factor in Social Efficiency.—In the sphere of action, also, the child might acquire skill in making stones skip over the surface of the lake. Here, again, however, the acquired skill would serve no purpose in the community life, except perhaps occasionally to enable him to amuse himself or his fellows. When, on the other hand, he acquires skill in various home occupations, as opening and closing the gates, attending to the furnace, harnessing and driving the horse, or playing a musical instrument, he finds that this skill enables him in some measure to serve in the community life of which he is a member. A second factor in social efficiency, therefore, is the possession of such skill as will enable us to co-operate effectively within our social environment.

C. Right Feeling, a Factor in Social Efficiency.—But granting the possession of adequate knowledge and skill, a man may yet fall far short of the socially efficient life. The machinist, for instance, may know fully all that pertains to the making of an excellent engine for the intended steamboat. He may further possess the skill necessary to its actual construction. But through indifference or a desire for selfish gain, this man may build for the vessel an engine which later, through its poor construction, causes the loss of the ship and its crew. A third necessary requisite in social efficiency, therefore, is the possession of a sense of duty which compels us to use our knowledge and skill with full regard to the feelings and rights of others. Thus a certain amount of socially useful knowledge, a certain measure of socially effective skill, and a certain sense of moral obligation, or right feeling, all enter as factors into the socially efficient life.


Assuming that the educator is thus able to distinguish what constitutes a life of worth, and to recognize and in some measure control the stimulations and reactions of the child, it is evident that he should be able to devise ways and means by which the child may grow into a more worthy, that is, into a more socially efficient, life. Such an attempt to control the reactions of the child as he adjusts himself to the physical and social world about him, in order to render him a more socially efficient member of the society to which he belongs, is described as formal education.




Since the educator aims to direct the development of the child by controlling his reactions upon his physical and social surroundings, we have next to consider the forms under which these reactions occur. Even at birth the human organism is endowed with certain tendencies, which enable it to react effectively upon the presentation of appropriate stimuli. Our instinctive movements, such as sucking, hiding, grasping, etc., being inherited tendencies to react under given conditions in a more or less effective manner for our own good, constitute one type of reactive movement. At birth, therefore, the child is endowed with powers, or tendencies, which enable him to adapt himself more or less effectively to his surroundings. Because, however, the child's early needs are largely physical, many of his instincts, such as those of feeding, fighting, etc., lead only to self-preservative acts, and are, therefore, individual rather than social in character. Even these individual tendencies, however, enable the child to adjust himself to his surroundings, and thus assist that physical growth without which, as will be learned later, there could be no adequate intellectual and moral development. But besides these, the child inherits many social and adaptive tendencies—love of approbation, sympathy, imitation, curiosity, etc., which enable him of himself to participate in some measure in the social life about him.

Instinct and Education.—Our instincts being inherited tendencies, it follows that they must cause us to react in a somewhat fixed manner upon particular external stimulation. For this reason, it might be assumed that these tendencies would build up our character independently of outside interference or direction. If such were the case, instinctive reactions would not only lie beyond the province of formal education, but might even seriously interfere with its operation, since our instinctive acts differ widely in value from the standpoint of the efficient life. It is found, however, that human instincts may not only be modified but even suppressed through education. For example, as we shall learn in the following paragraphs, instinctive action in man may be gradually supplanted by more effective habitual modes of reaction. Although, therefore, the child's instinctive tendencies undoubtedly play a large part in the early informal development of his character outside the school, it is equally true that they can be brought under the direction of the educator in the work of formal education. For that reason a more thorough study of instinctive forms of reaction, and of their relation to formal education, will be made in Chapter XXI.


A second form of reaction is known as habit. On account of the plastic character of the matter constituting the nervous tissue in the human organism, any act, whether instinctive, voluntary, or accidental, if once performed, has a tendency to repeat itself under like circumstances, or to become habitual. The child, for example, when placed amid social surroundings, by merely yielding to his general tendencies of imitation, sympathy, etc., will form many valuable modes of habitual reaction connected with eating, dressing, talking, controlling the body, the use of household implements, etc. For this reason the early instinctive and impulsive acts of the child gradually develop into definite modes of action, more suited to meet the particular conditions of his surroundings.

Habit and Education.—Furthermore, the formation of these habitual modes of reaction being largely conditioned by outside influences, it is possible to control the process of their formation. For this reason, the educator is able to modify the child's natural reactions, and develop in their stead more valuable habits. No small part of the work of formal education, therefore, must consist in adding to the social efficiency of the child by endowing him with habits making for neatness, regularity, accuracy, obedience, etc. A detailed study of habit in its relation to education will be made in Chapter XXII.


An Example.—The third and highest form of human reaction is known as ideal, or conscious, reaction. In this form of reaction the mind, through its present ideas, reacts upon some situation or difficulty in such a way as to adjust itself satisfactorily to the problem with which it is faced. As an example of such a conscious reaction, or adjustment, may be taken the case of a young lad who was noticed standing over a stationary iron grating through which he had dropped a small coin. A few moments later the lad was seen of his own accord to take up a rod lying near, smear the end with tar and grease from the wheel of a near by wagon, insert the rod through the grating, and thus recover his lost coin. An analysis of the mental movements involved previously to the actual recovery of the coin will illustrate in general the nature of a conscious reaction, or adjustment.

Factors Involved in Process.—In such an experience the consciousness of the lad is at the outset occupied with a definite problem, or felt need, demanding adjustment—the recovering of the lost coin, which need acts as a stimulus to the consciousness and gives direction and value to the resulting mental activity. Acting under the demands of this problem, or need, the mind displays an intelligent initiative in the selecting of ideas—stick, adhesion, tar, etc., felt to be of value for securing the required new adjustment. The mind finally combines these selected ideas into an organized system, or a new experience, which is accepted mentally as an adequate solution of the problem. The following factors are found, therefore, to enter into such an ideal, or conscious, reaction:

1. The Problem.—The conscious reaction is the result of a definite problem, or difficulty, presented in consciousness and grasped by the mind as such—How to recover the coin.

2. A Selecting Process.—To meet the solution of this problem use is made of ideas which already form a part of the lad's present experience, or knowledge, and which are felt by him to have a bearing on the presented problem.

3. A Relating Process.—These elements of former experience are organized by the child into a mental plan which he believes adequate to solve the problem before him.

4. Application.—This resulting mental plan serves to guide a further physical reaction, which constitutes the actual removal of the difficulty—the recovery of the coin.

Significance of Conscious Reactions.—In a conscious reaction upon any situation, or problem, therefore, the mind first uses its present ideas, or experience, in weighing the difficulties of the situation, and it is only after it satisfies itself in theory that a solution has been reached that the physical response, or application of the plan, is made. Hence the individual not only directs his actions by his higher intelligent nature, but is also able to react effectively upon varied and unusual situations. This, evidently, is not so largely the case with instinctive or habitual reactions. For efficient action, therefore, there must often be an adequate mental adjustment prior to the expression of the physical action. For this reason the value of consciousness consists in the guidance it affords us in meeting the demands laid upon us by our surroundings, or environment. This will become more evident, however, by a brief examination into the nature of experience itself.


Its Value.—In the above example of conscious adjustment it was found that a new experience arises naturally from an effort to meet some need, or problem, with which the mind is at the time confronted. Our ideas, therefore, naturally organize themselves into new experiences, or knowledge, to enable us to gain some desired end. It was in order to effect the recovery of the lost coin, for example, that conscious effort was put forth by the lad to create a mental plan which should solve the problem. Primarily, therefore, man is a doer and his ideas, or knowledge, is meant to be practical, or to be applied in directing action. It is this fact, indeed, which gives meaning and purpose to the conscious states of man. Hour by hour new problems arise demanding adjustment; the mind grasps the import of the situation, selects ways and means, organizes these into an intelligent plan, and directs their execution, thus enabling us:

Not without aim to go round In an eddy of purposeless dust.

Its Theoretic or Intellectual Value.—But owing to the value which thus attaches to any experience, a new experience may be viewed as desirable apart from its immediate application to conduct. Although, for instance, there is no immediate physical need that one should learn how to resuscitate a drowning person, he is nevertheless prepared to make of it a problem, because he feels that such knowledge regarding his environment may enter into the solution of future difficulties. Thus the value of new experience, or knowledge, is often remote and intellectual, rather than immediate and physical, and looks to the acquisition of further experience quite as much as to the directing of present physical movement. Beyond the value they may possess in relation to the removal of present physical difficulty, therefore, experiences may be said to possess a secondary value in that they may at any time enter into the construction of new experiences.

Its Growth: A. Learning by Direct Experience.—The ability to recall and use former experience in the upbuilding of an intelligent new experience is further valuable, in that it enables a person to secure much experience in an indirect rather than in a direct way, and thus avoid the direct experience when such would be undesirable. Under direct experience we include the lessons which may come to us at first hand from our surroundings, as when the child by placing his hand upon a thistle learns that it has sharp prickles, or by tasting quinine learns that it is bitter. In this manner direct experience is a teacher, continually adjusting man to his environment; and it is evident that without an ability to retain our experiences and turn them to use in organizing a new experience without expressing it in action, all conscious adjustments would have to be secured through such a direct method.

B. Learning Indirectly.—Since man is able to retain his experiences and organize them into new experiences, he may, if desirable, enter into a new experience in an indirect, or theoretic, way, and thus avoid the harsher lessons of direct experience. The child, for example, who knows the discomfort of a pin-prick may apply this, without actual expression, in interpreting the danger lurking in the thorn. In like manner the child who has fallen from his chair realizes thereby, without giving it expression, the danger of falling from a window or balcony. It is in this indirect, or theoretic, way that children in their early years acquire, by injunction and reproof, much valuable knowledge which enables them to avoid the dangers and to shun the evils presented to them by their surroundings. By the same means, also, man is able to extend his knowledge to include the experiences of other men and even of other ages.

Relative Value of Experiences.—While the value of experience consists in its power to adjust man to present or future problems, and thus render his action more efficient, it is to be noted that different experiences may vary in their value. Many of these, from the point of their value in meeting future problems or making adjustments, must appear trivial and even useless. Others, though adapted to meet our needs, may do this in a crude and ineffective manner. As an illustration of such difference in value, compare the effectiveness and accuracy of the notation possessed by primitive men as illustrated in the following strokes:

1, 11, 111, 1111, 11111, 111111, etc.,

with that of our present system of notation as suggested in:

1, 10, 100, 1000, 10000, 100000, 1000000, etc.

In like manner to experience that ice is cold is trivial in comparison with experiencing its preservative effects as seen in cold storage or its medicinal effects in certain diseases; to know that soda is white would be trivial in comparison with a knowledge of its properties in baking.

Man Should Participate in Valuable Experiences.—Of the three forms of human reaction, instinctive, habitual, and conscious, or ideal, it is evident that, owing to its rational character, ideal reaction is not only the most effective, but also the only one that will enable man to adjust himself to unusual situations. For this reason, and because of the difference in value of experiences themselves, it is further evident that man should participate in those experiences which are most effective in facilitating desired adjustments or in directing right conduct. It is found, moreover, that this participation can be effected by bringing the child's experiencing during his early years directly under control. It is held by some, indeed, that the whole aim of education is to reconstruct and enrich the experiences of the child and thereby add to his social efficiency. Although this conception of education leaves out of view the effects of instinctive and habitual reaction, it nevertheless covers, as we shall see later, no small part of the purpose of formal education.


A. On Instinctive Action.—Before concluding our survey of the various forms of reaction, it may be noted that both instinctive and habitual action are subject to the influence of conscious reaction. As a child's early instinctive acts develop into fixed habits, his growing knowledge aids in making these habits intelligent and effective. Consciousness evidently aids, for example, in developing the instinctive movements of the legs into the rhythmic habitual movements of walking, and those of the hands into the later habits of holding the spoon, knife, cup, etc. Greater still would be the influence of consciousness in developing the crude instinct of self-preservation into the habitual reactions of the spearman or boxer. In general, therefore, instinctive tendencies in man are subject to intelligent training, and may thereby be moulded into effective habits of reaction.

B. On Habitual Action.—Further new habits may be established and old ones improved under the direction of conscious reaction. When a child first learns to represent the number four by the symbol, the problem is necessarily met at first through a conscious adjustment. In other words, the child must mentally associate into a single new experience the number idea and certain ideas of form and of muscular movement. Although, however, the child is conscious of all of these factors when he first attempts to give expression to this experience, it is clear that very soon the expressive act of writing the number is carried on without any conscious direction of the process. In other words, the child soon acquires the habit of performing the act spontaneously, or without direction from the mind. Inversely, any habitual mode of action, in whatever way established, may, if we possess the necessary experience, be represented in idea and be accepted or corrected accordingly. A person, for instance, who has acquired the necessary knowledge of the laws of hygiene, may represent ideally both his own and the proper manner of standing, sitting, reclining, etc., and seek to modify his present habits accordingly. The whole question of the relation of conscious to habitual reaction will, however, be considered in Chapter XXII.




From the example of conscious adjustment previously considered, it would appear that the full process of such an adjustment presents the following characteristics:

1. The Problem.—The individual conceives the existence within his environment of a difficulty which demands adjustment, or which serves as a problem calling for solution.

2. A Selecting Process.—With this problem as a motive, there takes place within the experience of the individual a selecting of ideas felt to be of value for solving the problem which calls for adjustment.

3. A Relating Process.—These relevant ideas are associated in consciousness and form a new experience believed to overcome the difficulty involved in the problem. This new experience is accepted, therefore, mentally, as a satisfactory plan for meeting the situation, or, in other words, it adjusts the individual to the problem in hand.

4. Expression.—This new experience is expressed in such form as is requisite to answer fully the need felt in the original problem.


Example from Writing.—An examination of any ordinary educative process taken from school-room experience will show that it involves in some degree the factors mentioned above.

As a very simple example, may be taken the case of a young child learning to form capital letters with short sticks. Assuming that he has already copied letters involving straight lines, such as A, H, etc., the child, on meeting such a letter as C or D, finds himself face to face with a new problem. At first he may perhaps attempt to form the curves by bending the short thin sticks. Hereupon, either through his own failure or through some suggestion of his teacher, he comes to see a short, straight line as part of a large curve. Thereupon he forms the idea of a curve composed of a number of short, straight lines, and on this principle is able to express himself in such forms as are shown here.

In this simple process of adjustment there are clearly involved the four stages referred to above, as follows:

1. The Problem.—The forming of a curved letter by means of straight sticks.

2. A Selecting Process.—Selecting of the ideas straight and curved and the fixing of attention upon them.

3. A Relating Process.—An organization of the selected ideas into a new experience in which the curve is viewed as made up of a number of short, straight lines.

4. Expression.—Working out the physical expression of the new experience in the actual forming of capitals involving curved lines.

Example from Arithmetic.—An analysis of the process by which a child learns that there are four twos in eight, shows also the following factors:

1. The Problem.—To find out how many twos are contained in the vaguely known eight.

2. A Selecting Process.—To meet this problem the pupil is led from his present knowledge of the number two, to proceed to divide eight objects into groups of two; and, from his previous knowledge of the number four, to measure the number of these groups of two.

3. A Relating Process.—Next the three ideas two, four, and eight are translated into a new experience, constituting a mental solution of the present problem.

4. Expression.—This new experience expresses itself in various ways in the child's dealings with the number problems connected with his environment.

Example from Geometry.—Taking as another example the process by which a student may learn that the exterior angle of a triangle is equal to the two interior and opposite angles, there appear also the same stages, thus:

1. The Problem.—The conception of a difficulty or problem in the geometrical environment which calls for solution, or adjustment—the relation of the angle a to the angles b and c in Figure 1.

2. A Selecting Process.—With this problem as a motive there follows, as suggested by Figure 2, the selecting of a series of ideas from the previous experiences of the pupil which seem relative to, or are considered valuable for solving the problem in hand.

3. A Relating Process.—These relative ideas pass into the formation of a new experience, as illustrated in Figure 3, constituting the solution of the problem.

4. Expression.—A further applying of this experience may be made in adjusting the pupil to other problems connected with his geometric environment; as, for example, to discover the sum of the interior angles of a triangle.


The examples of adjustment taken from school-room practice, are found, however, to differ in one important respect from the previous example taken from practical life. This difference consists in the fact that in the recovery of the coin the modification of experience took place wholly without control or direction other than that furnished by the problem itself. Here the problem—the recovery of the coin—presents itself to the child and is seized upon as a motive by his attention solely on account of its own value; secondly, this problem of itself directs a flow of relative images which finally bring about the necessary adjustment. In the examples taken from the school, on the other hand, the processes of adjustment are, to a greater or less extent, directed and regulated through the presence of some type of educative agent. For instance, when a student goes through the process of learning the relation of the exterior angle to the two interior and opposite angles, the control of the process appears in the fact that the problem is directly presented to the student as an essential step in a sequence of geometric problems, or adjustments. The same direction or control of the process is seen again in the fact that the student is not left wholly to himself, as in the first example, to devise a solution, but is aided and directed thereto, first, in that the ideas bearing upon the problem have previously been made known to the student through instruction, and secondly, in that the selecting and adjusting of these former ideas to the solution of the new problem is also directed through the agency of either a text-book or a teacher. A conscious adjustment, therefore, which is brought about without direction from another, implies only a process of learning on the part of the child, while a controlled adjustment implies both a process of learning on the part of the child and a process of teaching on the part of an instructor. For scientific treatment, therefore, it is possible to limit formal education, so far as it deals with conscious adjustment, to those modifications of experience which are directed or controlled through an educative agent, or, in other words, are brought about by means of instruction.


Formal education being an attempt to direct the development of the child by controlling his stimulations and responses through the agency of an instructor, we may now understand in general the necessary qualifications and offices of the teacher in directing the educative process.

1. The teacher must understand what constitutes the worthy life; that is, he must have a definite aim in directing the development of the child.

2. He must know what stimulations, or problems, are to be presented to the child in order to have him grow, or develop, into this life of worth.

3. He must know how the physical, intellectual, and moral nature of the child reacts upon these appropriate stimulations.

4. He must have skill in presenting the stimuli, or problems, to the child and in bringing its mind to react appropriately thereon.

5. He must, in the case of conscious reactions, see that the child not only acquires the new experience, but that he is also able to apply it effectively. In other words, he must see that the child acquires not only knowledge, but also skill in the use of knowledge.



Valuable Experience: Race Knowledge.—Since education aims largely to increase the effectiveness of the moral conduct of the child by adding to the value of his experience, the science of education must decide the basis on which the educator is to select experiences that possess such a value in directing conduct. Now a study of the progress of a nation's civilization will show that this advancement is brought about through the gradual interpretation of the resources at the nation's command, and the turning of these resources to the attainment of human ends. Thus there is gradually built up a community, or race, experience, in which the materials of the physical, economic, political, moral, and religious life are organized and brought under control. By this means is constituted a body of race experience, the value of which has been tested in its direct application to the needs of the social life of the community. It is from the more typical forms of this social, or race, experience that education draws the experience, or problems, for the educative process. In other words, through education the experiences of the child are so reconstructed that he is put in possession of the more typical and more valuable forms of race experience, and thus rendered more efficient in his conduct, or action.


Represents Race Experiences.—So far as education aims to have the child enter into typical valuable race experiences, this can be accomplished only by placing these experiences before him as problems in such form that he may realize them through a regular process of learning. The purpose of the school curriculum is, therefore, to provide such problems as may, under the direction of the instructor, control the conscious reactions of the child, and enable him to participate in these more valuable race experiences. In this sense arithmetic becomes a means for providing the child with a series of problems which may give him the experiences which the race has found valuable in securing commercial accuracy and precision. In like manner, constructive work provides a series of problems in which the child experiences how the race has turned the materials of nature to human service. History provides problems whose solution gives the experience which enables the pupil to meet the political and social conditions of his own time. Physics shows how the forces of nature have become instruments for the service of man. Geography shows how the world is used as a background for social life; and grammar, what principles control the use of the race language as a medium for the communication of thought.

Classifies Race Experience.—Without such control of the presentation of these racial experiences as is made possible through the school and the school curriculum, the child would be likely to meet them only as they came to him in the actual processes of social life. These processes are, however, so complex in modern society, that, in any attempt to secure experience directly, the child is likely to be overwhelmed by their complex and unorganized character. The message boy in the dye-works, for example, may have presented to him innumerable problems in number, language, physics, chemistry, etc., but owing to the confused, disorganized, and mingled character of the presentation, these are not likely to be seized upon by him as direct problems calling for adjustment. In the school curriculum, on the other hand, the different phases of this seemingly unorganized mass of experiences are abstracted and presented to the child in an organized manner, the different phases being classified as facts of number, reading, spelling, writing, geography, physics, chemistry, etc. Thus the school curriculum classifies for the child the various phases of this race experience and provides him with a comprehensive representation of his environment.

Systematizes Race Experience.—The school curriculum further presents each type of experience, or each subject, in such a systematic order that the various experiences may develop out of one another in a natural way. If the child were compelled to meet his number facts altogether in actual life, the impressions would be received without system or order, now a discount experience, next a problem in fractions, at another time one in interest or mensuration. In the school curriculum, on the other hand, the child is in each subject first presented with the simple, near, and familiar, these in turn forming basic experiences for learning the complex, the remote, and the unknown. Thus he is able in geography, for example, on the basis of his simple and known local experiences, to proceed to a realization of the whole world as the background for human life.

Clarifies Race Experience.—Finally, when a child is given problems by means of the school curriculum, the experiences come to him in a pure form. That is, the trivial, accidental, and distracting elements which are necessarily bound up with these experiences when they are met in the ordinary walks of life are eliminated, and the single type is presented. For instance, the child may every day meet accidentally examples of reflection and refraction of light. But these not being separated from the mass of accompanying impressions, his mind may never seize as distinct problems the important relations in these experiences, and may thus fail to acquire the essential principles involved. In the school curriculum, on the other hand, under the head of physics, he has the essential aspects presented to him in such an unmixed, or pure, form that he finds relatively little difficulty in grasping their significance. Thus the school curriculum renders possible an effective control of the experiencing of the child by presenting in a comprehensive form a classified, systematized, and pure representation of the more valuable features of the race experience. In other words, it provides suitable problems which may lead the child to participate more fully in the life about him. Through the subjects of the school curriculum, therefore, the child may acquire much useful knowledge which would not otherwise be met, and much which, if met in ordinary life, could not be apprehended to an equal degree.


While recognizing the educational value of the school curriculum, it should be noticed that certain dangers attach to its use as a means of providing problems for developing the experiences of the child. It is frequently argued against the school that the experiences gained therein too often prove of little value to the child in the affairs of practical life. The world of knowledge within the school, it is claimed, is so different from the world of action outside the school, that the pupil can find no connection between them. If, however, as claimed above, the value of experience consists in its use as a means of efficient control of conduct, it is evident that the experiences acquired through the school should find direct application in the affairs of life, or in other words, the school should influence the conduct, or behaviour, of the child both within and without the school.

A. Child may not see Connection with Life.—Now the school curriculum, as has been seen, in representing the actual social life, so classifies and simplifies this life that only one type of experience—number, language, chemistry, geography, etc., is presented to the child at one time. It is evident, however, that when the child faces the problems of actual life, they will not appear in the simple form in which he meets them as represented in the school curriculum. Thus, when he leaves the school and enters society, he frequently sees no connection between the complex social life outside the school and the simplified and systematized representation of that life, as previously met in the school studies. For example, when the boy, after leaving school, is set to fill an order in a wholesale drug store, he will in the one experience be compelled to use various phases of his chemical, arithmetical, writing, and bookkeeping knowledge, and that perhaps in the midst of a mass of other accidental impressions. In like manner, the girl in her home cooking might meet in a single experience a situation requiring mathematical, chemical, and physical knowledge for its successful adjustment, as in the substitution of soda and cream of tartar for baking-powder. This complex character of the problems of actual life may prove so bewildering that the person is unable to see any connection between the outside problem and his school experiences. Thus school knowledge frequently fails to function to an adequate degree in the practical affairs of life.

How to Avoid This Danger.—To meet this difficulty, school work must be related as closely as possible to the practical experiences of the child. This would cause the teacher, for example, to draw his problems in arithmetic, his subjects in composition, or his materials for nature study from the actual life about the child, while his lessons in hygiene would bear directly on the care of the school-room and the home, and the health of the pupils. Moreover, that the work of the school may represent more fully the conditions of actual life, pupils should acquire facility in correlating different types of experience upon the same problem. In this way the child may use in conjunction his knowledge of arithmetic, language, geography, drawing, nature study, etc., in school gardening; and his arithmetic, language, drawing, art, etc., in conjunction with constructive occupations.

Value of Typical Forms of Expression.—A chief cause in the past for the lack of connection between school knowledge and practical life was the comparative absence from the curriculum of any types of human activity. In other words, though the ideas controlling human activity were experienced by the child within the school, the materials and tools involved in the physical expression of such ideas were almost entirely absent. The result was that the physical habits connected with the practical use of knowledge were wanting. Thus, in addition to the lack of any proper co-ordinating of different types of knowledge in suitable forms of activity, the knowledge itself became theoretic and abstract. This danger will, however, be discussed more fully at a later stage.

B. Curriculum May Become Fossilized.—A second danger in the use of the school curriculum consists in the fact that, as a representation of social life, it may not keep pace with the social changes taking place outside the school. This may result in the school giving its pupils forms of knowledge which at the time have little functional value, or little relation to present life about the child. An example of this was seen some years ago in the habit of having pupils spend considerable time and energy in working intricate problems in connection with British currency. This currency having no practical place in life outside the school, the child could see no connection between that part of his school work and any actual need. Another marked example of this tendency will be met in the History of Education in connection with the educational practice of the last two centuries in continuing the emphasis placed on the study of the ancient languages, although the functional relation of these languages to everyday life was on the decline, and scientific knowledge was beginning to play a much more important part therein. While the school curriculum may justly represent the life of past periods of civilization so far as these reflect on, and aid in the interpreting of, the present, it is evident that in so far as the child experiences the past without any reference to present needs, the connection which should exist between the school and life outside the school must tend to be destroyed.

C. May be Non-progressive.—As a corollary to the above, is the fact that the school, when not watchful of the changes going on without the school, may fail to represent in its curriculum new and important phases of the community life. At the present time, for example, it is a debatable question whether the school curriculum is, in the matter of our industrial life, keeping pace with the changes taking place in the community. It is in this connection that one of the chief dangers of the school text-book is to be found. The text is too often looked upon as a final authority upon the particular subject-matter, rather than being treated as a mode of representing what is held valuable and true in relation to present-day interests and activities. The position of authority which the text-book thus secures, may serve as a check against even necessary changes in the attitude of the school toward any particular subject.

D. May Present Experience in too Technical Form.—Lastly, the school curriculum, even when representing present life, may introduce it in a too highly technical form. So far at least as elementary education is concerned, each type of knowledge, or each subject, should find a place on the curriculum from a consideration of its influence upon the conduct and, therefore, upon the present life of the child. There is always a danger, however, that the teacher, who may be a specialist in the subject, will wish to stress its more intellectual and abstract phases, and thus force upon the child forms of knowledge which he is not able to refer to his life needs in any practical way. This tendency is illustrated in the desire of some teachers to substitute with young children a technical study of botany and zoology, in place of more concrete work in nature study. Now when the child approaches these phases of his surroundings in the form of nature study, he is able to see their influence upon his own community life. When, on the other hand, these are introduced to him in too technical a form, he is not able, in his present stage of learning, to discover this connection, and the so-called knowledge remains in his experience, if it remains at all, as uninteresting, non-significant, and non-digested information. In the elementary school at least, therefore, knowledge should not be presented to the child in such a technical and abstract way that it will seem to have no contact with daily life.




As man, in the progress of civilization, became more fully conscious of the worth of human life and of the possibilities of its development through educational effort, the providing of special instruction for the young naturally began to be recognized as a duty. As this duty became more and more apparent, it gave rise, on the principle of the division of labour, to corporate, or institutional, effort in this direction. By this means there has been finally developed the modern school as a fully organized corporate institution devoted to educational work, and supported as an integral part of our civil or public obligations.

Origin of the School.—To trace the origin of the school, it will be necessary to look briefly at certain marked stages of the development of civilization. The earliest and simplest forms of primitive life suggest a time when the family constituted the only type of social organization. In such a mode of life, the principle of the division of labour would be absent, the father or patriarch being the family carpenter, butcher, doctor, judge, priest, and teacher. In the two latter capacities, he would give whatever theoretic or practical instruction was received by the child. As soon, however, as a tribal form of life is met, we find the tribe or race collecting a body of experience which can be retained only by entrusting it to a selected body. This experience, or knowledge, is at first mainly of a religious character, and is possessed and handed on by a body of men forming a priesthood. Such priestly bodies, or colleges, may be considered the earliest special organizations devoted to the office of teaching. As civilization gradually advanced, a mass of valuable practical knowledge relative to man's environment was secured and added to the more theoretic forms. As this practical knowledge became more complex, there was felt a greater need that the child should be made acquainted with it in some systematic manner during his early years. Thus developed the conception of the school as an instrument by which such educative work might be carried on more effectively. On account of the constant increase of practical knowledge and its added importance in directing the political and economic life of the people, the civil authorities began in time to assume control of secular education. Thus the government of the school as an institution gradually passed to the state, the teacher taking the place of the priest as the controlling agent in the education of the young.


The Church.—But notwithstanding the organization of the present school as a civic institution, it is to be noticed that the church still continues to act as an educative agent. In many communities, in fact, the church is still found to retain a large control of education even of a secular type. Even in communities where the church no longer exercises control over the school, she still does much, though in a more indirect way, to mould the thought and character of the community life; and is still the chief educational agent concerned in the direct attempt to enrich the religious experiences of the race.

The Home.—While much of the knowledge obtained by the child within his own home necessarily comes through self, or informal, education, yet in most homes the parent still performs in many ways the function of a teacher, both by giving special instruction to the child and by directing the formation of his habits. In certain forms of experience indeed, it is claimed by the school that the instruction should be given by the parent rather than by the teacher. In questions of morals and manners, the natural tie which unites child and parent will undoubtedly enable much of the necessary instruction to be given more effectively in the home. It is often claimed, in fact, that parents now leave too much to the school and the teacher in relation to the education of the child.

The Vocation.—Another agent which may directly control the experiences of the young is found in the various vocations to which they devote themselves. This phase of education was very important in the days of apprenticeship. One essential condition in the form of agreement was that the master should instruct the apprentice in the art, or craft, to which he was apprenticed. Owing to the introduction of machinery and the consequent more complex division of labour, this type of formal education has been largely eliminated. It may be noted in passing that it is through these changed conditions that night classes for mechanics, which are now being provided by our technical schools, have become an important factor in our educational system.

Other Educational Institutions.—Finally, many clubs, institutes, and societies attempt, in a more accidental way, to convey definite instruction, and therefore serve in a sense as educational institutions. Prominent among such institutions is the modern Public Library, which affords opportunity for independent study in practically every department of knowledge. Our Farmers' Institutes also attempt to convey definite instruction in connection with such subjects as dairying, horticulture, agriculture, etc. Many Women's Clubs seek to provide instruction for young women, both of a practical and also of a moral and religious character. Various societies of a scientific character have also done much to spread a knowledge of nature and her laws and are likewise to be classed as educational institutions. Such movements as these, while taking place without the limits of the school, may not unreasonably claim a certain recognition as educational factors in the community and should receive the sympathetic co-operation of the teacher.




Since the school of to-day is organized and supported by the state as a special corporate body designed to carry on the work of education, it becomes of public interest to know the particular purpose served through the maintenance of such a state institution. We have already seen that the school seeks to interpret the civilized life of the community, to abstract out of it certain elements, and to arrange them in systematic or scientific order as a curriculum of study, and finally to give the child control of this experience, or knowledge. We have attempted to show further that by this means education so increases the effectiveness of the conscious reactions of the child and so modifies his instincts and his habits as to add to his social efficiency. As, however, many divergent and incomplete views are held by educators and others as to the real purpose of public instruction, it will be well at this stage to consider briefly some of the most important types of these theories.

Aristocratic View.—It may be noted that the experience, or knowledge, represented in the curriculum cannot exist outside of the knowing mind. In other words, arithmetic, grammar, history, geography, etc., are not something existing apart from mind, but only as states of consciousness. Text-books, for instance, do not contain knowledge but merely symbols of knowledge, which would have no significance and give no light without a mind to interpret them. Some, therefore, hold that the school, in seeking to translate this social experience into the consciousness of the young, should have as its aim merely to conserve for the future the intellectual and moral achievements of the present and the past. This they say demands of the school only that it produce an intellectual priesthood, or a body of scholars, who may conserve wisdom for the light and guidance of the whole community. Thus arises the aristocratic view of the purpose of education, which sees no justification in the state attempting to provide educational opportunities for all of its members, but holds rather that education is necessary only for the leaders of society.

Democratic View.—Against the above view, it is claimed by others that, while public education should undoubtedly be conducted for the benefit of the state as a whole; yet, since a chain cannot be stronger than its weakest link, the efficiency of the state must be measured by that of its individual units. The state, therefore, must aim, by means of education, to add to its own efficiency by adding to that of each and all of its members. This demands, however, that every individual should be able to meet in an intelligent way such situations as he is likely to encounter in his community life. Although carried on, therefore, for the good of the state, yet education should be democratic, or universal, and should fit every individual to become a useful member of society.

These Views Purely Civic.—It is to be noted that though the latter view provides for the education of all as a duty of the state, yet both of the above views are purely civic in their significance, and hold that education exists for the welfare of the state as a whole and not for the individual. If, therefore, the state could be benefited by having the education of any class of citizens either limited or extended in an arbitrary way, nothing in the above conception of the purpose of state education would forbid such a course.


Opposed to the civic view of education, many hold, on the other hand, that education exists for the child and not for the state, and therefore, aims primarily to promote the welfare of the individual. By these educators it is argued that, since each child is created with a separate and distinct personality, it follows that he possesses a divine right to have that personality developed independently of the claims of the community to which he belongs. According to this view, therefore, the aim of education should be in each case solely to effect some good for the individual child. These educators, however, are again found to differ concerning what constitutes this individual good.

The Culture Aim.—According to the practice of many educators, education is justified on the ground that it furnishes the individual a degree of personal culture. According to this view, the worth of education is found in the fact that it puts the learner in possession of a certain amount of conventional knowledge which is held to give a polish to the individual; this polish providing a distinguishing mark by which the learned class is separated from the ignorant. It is undoubtedly true that the so-called culture of the educated man should add to the grace and refinement of social life. In this sense, culture is not foreign to the conception of individual and social efficiency. A narrow cultural view, however, overlooks the fact that man's experience is significant only when it enables him to meet the needs and problems of the present, and that, as a member of a social community, he must apply himself to the actual problems to be met within his environment. To acquire knowledge, therefore, either as a mere possession or as a mark of personal superiority, is to give to experience an unnatural value.

The Utilitarian Aim.—Others express quite an opposite view to the above, declaring that the aim of education is to enable the individual to get on in the world. By this is meant that education should enable us to be more successful in our business, and thus live more comfortable lives. Now, so far as this practical success of the individual can be achieved in harmony with the interests of society as a whole, we may grant that education should make for individual betterment. Indeed it may justly be claimed that an advancement in the comfort of the individual under such conditions really implies an increase in the comfort of society as a whole; for the man who is not able to provide for his own welfare must prove, if not a menace, at least a burden to society. If, however, it is implied that the educated man is to be placed in a position to advance his own interests irrespective of, or in direct opposition to, the rights and comforts of others, then the utilitarian view of the end of education must appear one-sided. To emphasize the good of the individual irrespective of the rights of others, and to educate all of its members with such an end in view, society would tend to destroy the unity of its own corporate life.

The Psychological Aim.—According to others, although education aims to benefit the child, this benefit does not come from the acquisition of any particular type of knowledge, but is due rather to a development which takes place within the individual himself as a result of experiencing. In other words, the child as an intelligent being is born with certain attributes which, though at first only potential, may be developed into actual capacities or powers. Thus it is held that the real aim of education is to develop to the full such capacities as are found already within the child. Moreover, it is because the child has such possibilities of development within him, and because he starts at the very outset of his existence with a divine yearning to develop these inner powers, that he reaches out to experience his surroundings. For this reason, they argue that every individual should have his own particular capacities and powers fully and harmoniously developed. Thus the true aim of education is said to be to unfold the potential life of each individual and allow it to realize itself; the purpose of the school being primarily not to make of the child a useful member of society, but rather to study the nature of the child and develop whatever potentialities are found within him as an individual. Because this theory places such large emphasis on the natural tendencies and capacities of the child, it is spoken of as the psychological aim of education.

Limitations of the Aim.—This view evidently differs from others in that it finds the justification for education, not primarily in the needs or rights of a larger society of which the child is a member, but rather in those of the single individual. Here, however, a difficulty presents itself. If the developing of the child's capacities and tendencies constitute the real purpose of public education, may not education at times conflict with the good of the state itself? Now it is evident that if a child has a tendency to lie, or steal, or inflict pain on others, the development of such tendencies must result in harm to the community at large. On the other hand, it is clear that in the case of other proclivities which the child may possess, such as industry, truthfulness, self-sacrifice, etc., the development of these cannot be separated from the idea of the good of others. To apply a purely individual aim to education, therefore, seems impossible; since we can have no standard to distinguish between good and bad tendencies, unless these are measured from a social standpoint or from a consideration of the good of others, and not from the mere tendencies and capacities of the individual. Moreover, to attempt the harmonious development of all the child's tendencies and powers is not justifiable, even in the case of those tendencies which might not conflict with the good of others. As already noted, division of labour has now gone so far that the individual may profitably be relieved from many forms of social activity. This implies as a corollary, however, that the individual will place greater stress upon other forms of activity.


Moreover, because, as already noted, the child is by his very nature a social being, it follows that the good of the individual can never in reality be opposed to the good of society, and that whenever the child has in his nature any tendencies which conflict with the good of others, these do not represent his true, or social, nature. For education to suppress these, therefore, is not only fitting the child for society but also advancing the development of the child so far as his higher, or true, nature is concerned. Thus the true view of the purpose of the school and of education will be a social, or eclectic, one, representing the element of truth contained in both the civic and the individualistic views. In the first place, such a view may be described as a civic one, since it is only by considering the good of others, that is of the state, that we can find a standard for judging the value of the child's tendencies. Moreover, it is only by using the forms of experience, or knowledge, that the community has evolved, that conditions can be provided under which the child's tendencies may realize themselves. Secondly, the true view is equally an individualistic view, for while it claims that the child is by his nature a social being, it also demands a full development of the social or moral tendencies of the individual, as being best for himself as well as for society.

This View Dynamic.—In such an eclectic view of the aim of education, it is to be noted further that society may turn education to its own advancement. By providing that an individual may develop to his uttermost such good tendencies as he may possess, education not only allows the individual to make the most of his own higher nature, but also enables him to contribute something to the advancement, or elevation, of society itself. Such a conception of the aim of education, therefore, does not view the present social life as some static thing to which the child must be adapted in any formal sense, but as dynamic, or as having the power to develop itself in and through a fuller development of the higher and better tendencies within its individual members.

A Caution.—While emphasizing the social, or moral, character of the aim of education, it is to be borne in mind by the educator that this implies more than a passive possession by the individual of a certain moral sentiment. Man is truly moral only when his moral character is functioning in goodness, or in right action. This is equivalent to declaring that the moral man must be individually efficient in action, and must likewise control his action from a regard for the rights of others. There is always a danger, however, of assuming that the development of moral character consists in giving the child some passive mark, or quality, without any necessity of having it continually functioning in conduct. But this reduces morality to a mere sentiment. In such a case, the moral aim would differ little from the cultural aim mentioned above.




Significance of Control.—From our previous inquiry into the nature of education, we may notice that at least two important problems present themselves for investigation in connection with the educative process. Our study of the subject-matter of education, or the school curriculum, has shown that its function as an educational instrumentality is to furnish for the child experiences of greater value, this enhanced value consisting in the greater social significance of the race experiences, or knowledge, embodied within the curriculum, when compared with the more individual experiences of the average child. It has been noted further, however, that the office of education is not merely to have the child translate this race experience into his own mind, but rather to have him add to his social efficiency by gaining an adequate power of control over these experiences. It is not, for instance, merely to know the number combinations, but to be able to meet his practical needs, that the child must master the multiplication tables. Control of experience, however, as we have seen from our analysis of the learning process, implies an ability to hold an aim, or problem, in view, and a further ability to select and arrange the means of gaining the desired end. In relation to the multiplication table, therefore, control of experience implies that a person is able to apprehend the present number situation as one that needs solution, and also that he can bring, or apply, his knowledge of the table to its solution.

Nature of Growth of Control.—The young child is evidently not able at first to exercise this power of control over his experiences. When a very young child is aroused, say by the sound proceeding from a bell, the impression may give rise to certain random movements, but none of these indicate on his part any definite experience or purpose. When, however, under the same stimulation, in place of these random movements, the child reacts mentally in a definite way, it signifies on his part the recognition of an external object. This recognition shows that the child now has, in place of the first vague image, a more or less definite idea of the external thing. Before it was vague noise; now it is a bell. But a yet more valuable control is gained by the child when he gives this idea a wider meaning by organizing it as an element into more complex experiences, as when he relates it with the idea of a fire, of dinner, or of a call to school. Before it was merely a bell; now it is an alarm of fire. So far, however, as the child is lacking in the control of his experiences, he remains largely a mere creature of impulse and instinct, and is occupied with present impressions only. This implies also an inability to set up problems and solve them through a regular process of adjustment, and a consequent lack of power to arrange experiences as guides to action. In the educative process, however, as previously exemplified, we find that the child is not a slave to the passing transient impressions of the present, but is able to secure a control over his experience which enables him to set up intelligent aims, devise plans for their attainment, and apply these plans in gaining the end desired. Growth of control takes place, therefore, to the extent to which the child thus becomes able to keep an end in view and to select and organize means for its realization.

Elements of Control.—In the growth of control manifested in the learning process, the child, as we have noticed, becomes able to judge the value, or worth, of experience. In other words, he becomes able to distinguish between the important and the trivial, and to see the relative values of various experiences when applied to practical ends. Further, he gains right feeling or an emotional warmth toward that which his intelligence affirms to be worthy, or grows to appreciate the right. Thirdly, he secures a power in execution that enables him to attain to that which his judgment and feeling have set up as a desirable end. In fine, the educative process implies for the child a growth of control by which he becomes able (1) to select worthy ends; (2) to devise plans for their attainment; and (3) to put these plans into successful execution.


The end in any learning process being to set the pupils a problem which may stimulate them to gain such an efficient control of useful experience, or knowledge, we may note two important problems confronting the teacher as an instructor:

1. Problem of Matter.—The teacher must be so conversant with the subject-matter of the curriculum and with its value in relation to actual life, that he may select therefrom the problems and materials which will enable the child to come into possession of the desirable experiences. This constitutes the question of the subject-matter of education.

2. Problem of Method.—The teacher must further be conversant with the process by which the child gets command of experience or with the way in which the mind of the child, in reacting upon any subject-matter, selects and organizes his knowledge into new experience and puts the same into execution. In other words, the teacher must fully understand how to direct the child successfully through the four stages of the learning process.

(a) General Method.—In a scientific study of education it is usually assumed that the student-teacher has mastered academically the various subjects of the curriculum. In the professional school, therefore, the subject-matter of education is studied largely from the standpoint of method. In his study of method the student of education seeks first to master the details of the process of education outlined in the opening Chapters under the headings of problem, selecting process, relating process, and application. By this means the teacher comes to understand in greater detail how the mind of the child reacts upon the presented problems of the curriculum in gaining control over his experiences, or, in other words, how the process of learning actually takes place within the consciousness of the child. This sub-division is treated under the head of General Method.

(b) Special Methods.—In addition to General Method, the student-teacher must study each subject of the curriculum from the standpoint of its use in setting problems, or lessons, which shall enable the child to gain control of a richer experience. This sub-division is known as Special Methods, since it considers the particular problems involved in adapting the matter of each subject to the general purpose of the educative process.

3. Problem of Management.—From what has been seen in reference to the school as an institution organized for directing the education of the child, it is apparent that in addition to the immediate and direct control of the process of learning as involved in the method of instruction, there is the more indirect control of the process through the systematic organization and management of the school as a corporate institution. These more indirect problems connected with the control of education within the school will include, not only such topics as the organization and management of the pupils, but also the legal ways and means for providing these various educational instrumentalities. These indirect elements of control constitute a third phase of the problem of education, and their study is known as School Organization and Management.

4. An Historic Problem.—It has been noted that the corporate institution known as the school arose as the result of the principle of the division of labour, and thus took to itself duties previously performed under other less effective conditions. Thus the school presents on its organic side a history with which the teacher should be more or less familiar. On its historical side, therefore, education presents a fourth phase for study. This division of the subject is known as the History of Education.


The facts of education, as scientifically considered by the student-teacher, thus arrange themselves under four main heads:

1. General Method

2. Special Methods

3. School Organization and Management

4. History of Education

The third and fourth divisions of education are always studied as separate subjects under the above heads. In dealing with Special Methods, also, it is customary in the study of education to treat each subject of the curriculum under its own head in both a professional and an academic way. There is left, therefore, for scientific consideration, the subject of General Method, to a study of which we shall now proceed.




Meaning of Method.—In the last Chapter it was seen that, in relation to the child, education involves a gaining of control over experiences. It has been seen further, that the child gains control of new experience whenever he goes through a process of learning involving the four steps of problem, selecting activity, relating activity, and expression. Finally it has been decided that the teacher in his capacity as an instructor, by presenting children with suitable problems, may in a sense direct their selecting and relating activities and thus exercise a certain control over their learning processes. To the teacher, therefore, method will mean an ability to control the learning process in such a way that the children shall, in their turn, gain an adequate control over the new experience forming the subject-matter of any learning process. Thus a detailed study by student-teachers of the various steps of the learning process, with a view to gaining knowledge and skill relative to directing pupils in their learning, constitutes for such teachers a study of General Method.

Subdivisions of Method.—For the student-teacher, the study of general method will involve a detailed investigation of how the child is to gain control of social experiences as outlined above, and how the teacher may bring about the same through instruction.

Tn such an investigation, he must examine in detail the various steps of the educative process to discover:

1. How the knowledge, or social experience, contained in the school curriculum should be presented to the child. This will involve an adequate study of the first step of the learning process—the problem.

2. How the mind, or consciousness, of the child reacts during the learning process upon the presented materials in gaining control of this knowledge. This will embrace a study of the second and third steps of the process—the selecting and relating activities.

3. How the child is to acquire facility in using a new experience, or in applying it to direct his conduct. This involves a particular study of the fourth step of the process—the law of expression.

4. How the teacher may use any outside agencies, as maps, globes, specimens, experiments, etc., to assist in directing the learning process. This involves a study of various classes of educational instrumentalities.

5. How the principles of general method are to be adapted to the different modes by which the learner may gain new experience, or knowledge. This will involve a study of the different kinds of lessons, or a knowledge of lesson types.


Before we proceed to such a detailed study of the educative process as a process of teaching, it should be noted that the existence of a general method is possible only provided that the growth of conscious control takes place in the mind of the child in a systematic and orderly manner. All children, for instance, must be supposed to respond in the same general way in the learning process when they are confronted with the same problem. Without this they could not secure from the same lesson the same experiences and the same relative measure of control over these experiences. But if our conscious acts are so uniform that the teacher may expect from all of his pupils like responses and like states of experience under similar stimulations, then a knowledge on the part of the teacher of the orderly modes in which the mind works will be essential to an adequate control of the process of learning. Now a full and systematic account of mind and its activities is set forth in the Science of Psychology. As the Science of Consciousness, or Experience, psychology explains the processes by which all experience is built up, or organized, in consciousness. Thus psychology constitutes a basic science for educational method. It is essential, therefore, that the teacher should have some knowledge of the leading principles of this science. For this reason, frequent reference will be made, in the study of general method, to underlying principles of psychology. The more detailed examination of these principles and of their application to educational method will, however, be postponed to a later part of the text. Each of the four important steps of the learning process will now be treated in order, beginning in the next Chapter with the problem.



Problem, a Motive.—The foregoing description and examples of the educative process have shown that new knowledge necessarily results whenever the mind faces a difficulty, or need, and adjusts itself thereto. In other words, knowledge is found to possess a practical value and to arise as man faces the difficulties, or problems, with which he is confronted. The basis of conscious activity in any direction is, therefore, a feeling of need. If one analyses any of his conscious acts, he will find that the motive is the satisfaction of some desire which he more or less consciously feels. The workman exerts himself at his labour because he feels the need of satisfying his artistic sense or of supplying the necessities of those who are dependent upon him; the teacher prepares the lessons he has to present and puts forth effort to teach them successfully, because he feels the need of educating the pupils committed to his care; the physician observes symptoms closely and consults authorities carefully, because he feels the need of curing his patients; the lawyer masters every detail of the case he is pleading, because he feels the need of protecting the interests of his client. What is true of adults is equally true of children in school. The pupil puts forth effort in school work because he feels that this work is meeting some of his needs.

Nature of Problem.—It is not to be assumed, however, that the only problem which will prompt the individual to put forth conscious effort must be a purely physical need, such as hunger, thirst, or a distinct desire for the attainment of a definite object, as to avoid danger or to secure financial gain or personal pleasure. Nor is it to be understood that the learner always clearly formulates the problem in his own mind. Indeed, as will be seen more fully later, one very important motive for mastering a presented problem is the instinct of curiosity. As an example of such may be noted a case which came under the observation of the writer, where the curiosity of a small child was aroused through the sight of a mud-turtle crawling along a walk. After a few moments of intense investigation, he cried to those standing by, "Come and see the bug in the basket." Here, evidently, the child's curiosity gave the strange appearance sufficient value to cause him to make it an object of study. Impelled by this feeling, he must have selected ideas from his former experience (bug—crawling thing; basket—incasing thing), which seemed of value in interpreting the unknown presentation. Finally by focusing these upon this strange object, he formed an idea, or mental picture, which gave him a reasonable control over the new vague presentation. Such a motive as curiosity may not imply to the same degree as some others a personal need, nor does it mean that the child consciously says to himself that this new material or activity is satisfying a specific need, but in some vague way he knows that it appeals to him because of its attractiveness in itself or because of its relation to some other attractive object. In brief, it interests him, and thus creates a tendency on the part of an individual to give it his attention. In such situations, therefore, the learner evidently feels to a greater or less degree a necessity, or a practical need, for solving the problem before him.


Knowledge Gained Accidentally.—It is evident, however, that at times knowledge might be gained in the absence of any set problem upon which the learner reacts. For example, a certain person while walking along a road intent upon his own personal matters observed a boy standing near a high fence. On passing further along the street, he glanced through an opening and observed a vineyard within the inclosure. On returning along the street a few minutes later, he saw the same boy standing at a near by corner eating grapes. Hereupon these three ideas at once co-ordinated themselves into a new form of knowledge, signifying stealing-of-fruit. In such a case, the experience has evidently been gained without the presence of a problem to guide the selecting and relating of the ideas entering into the new knowledge. In like manner, a child whose only motive is to fill paper with various coloured crayon may accidentally discover, while engaged on this problem, that red and yellow will combine to make orange, or that yellow and blue will combine to make green. Here also the child gains valuable experience quite spontaneously, that is, without its constituting a motive, or problem, calling for adjustment.

Learning without Motive.—In the light of the above, a question suggests itself in relation to the lesson problem, or motive. Granting that a regular school recitation must contain some valuable problem for which the learning process is to furnish a solution, and granting that the teacher must be fully conscious both of the problem and of its mode of solution, the question might yet be asked whether a problem is to be realized by the child as a felt need at the beginning of the lesson. For example, if the teacher wishes his pupils to learn how to compose the secondary colour purple, might he have them blend in a purely arbitrary way, red and blue, and finally ask them to note the result? Or again, if he wishes the pupils to learn the construction of a paper-box or fire-place, would he not be justified in directing them to make certain folds, to do certain cutting, and to join together the various sections in a certain way, and then asking them to note the result? If such a course is permissible, it would seem that, so far at least as the learner is concerned, he may gain control of valuable experience, or knowledge, without the presence of a problem, or motive, to give the learning process value and direction.

Problem Aids Control.—It is true that in cases like the above, the child may gain the required knowledge. The cause for this is, no doubt, that the physical activity demanded of the pupil constitutes indirectly a motive for attending sufficiently to gain the knowledge. But in many cases no such conditions might exist. It is important, therefore, to have the pupil as far as possible realize at the outset a definite motive for each lesson. The advantage consists in the fact that the motive gives a value to the ideas which enter into the new knowledge, even before they are fully incorporated into a new experience. For example, if in a lesson in geometrical drawing, the teacher, instead of having the child set out with the problem of drawing a pair of parallel lines, merely orders him to follow certain directions, and then requests him to measure the shortest distance between the lines at different points, the child is not likely to grasp the connections of the various steps involved in the construction of the whole problem. This means, however, that the learner has not secured an equal control over the new experience.

Pupils Feel Its Lack.—A further objection to conducting a lesson in such a way that the child may find no motive for the process until the close of the lesson, is the fact that he is himself aware of its lack. In school the child soon discovers that in a lesson he selects and gives attention to various ideas solely in order to gain control over some problem which he may more or less definitely conceive in advance. For this reason, if the teacher attempts, as in the above examples, to fix the child's attention on certain facts without any conception of purpose, the pupil nevertheless usually asks himself the question: "What does the teacher intend me to do with these facts?" Indeed, without at least that motive to hold such disconnected ideas in his mind, it is doubtful whether the pupil would attend to them sufficiently to organize them into a new item of knowledge. When, therefore, the teacher proposes at the outset an attractive problem to solve, he has gone a long way toward stimulating the intellectual activity of the pupil. The setting of problems, the supplying of motives, the giving of aims, the awakening of needs—this constitutes a large part of the business of the teacher.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse