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Psychology and Social Practice

.John Dewey.

149 A Journalist's View.

Hilton U. Brown.

154 Glimpse Into the German Kindergarten System.. Carina Campbell Eaglesfield., 155 Our Boyhood Haunts

James Whitcomb Riley

157 The Teacher as a Sanitarian.

Fletcher M. Gardner.

158 Shakespeare: A Character Study

Oliver E. Behymer.

163 BY THE WAY .....

Margaret E. Dennis...

165 Some Types of Fiction-English in Indiana–The Decadence of Manners. THE SCHOOL ROOM ...

168 The Chinese Crisis in Geography.

Lydia R. Blaich.
"The Maternal Instinct"

Mrs. E. E. Olcott.
Hints for Arithmetic Work.
Monotonous Readers..

Lee M'Crae.
Some Common Errors in English

W. F. L. Sanders.
MATHEMATICS.....

Robert J. Aley ...

176 Lagrange-Hints for Teachers-Problem Solving-Solutions--Credits

Solutions Requested-Notes. EDITORIAL,

181 Seeing Pictures-Moods-One Thanksgiving-Sticking to the PointChina-Am I Succeeding ?-Shall Children Study at Home ?- Oppor

tunity-Be Consistent --Our Likes and Dislikes, TOWNSHIP INSTITUTE..

187
Psychology and Teaching

Francis M. Stalker.
Talks on the Study of Literature.

W. E. Henry.
Side Lights on American History.

J. M. Culver.
The Verb “ Be"

John B. Wisely,

191 A Prophecy

191 City Superintendents' Association.

192 Educational, Literary and Personal Items

193 Among the New Books.

196

Published by
THE EDUCATOR - JOURNAL Co.

Indianapolis, Indiana
One Dollar a Year

Ten Cents a Copy

JOURNAL CO.

Entered at the Indianapolis postotfice as mail matter of the second class.

[graphic]

The Educator-Fournal.

VOL. I.

NOVEMBER, 1900.

NUMBER 4.

PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIAL PRACTICE.*

JOHN DEWEY

The school practice of to-day has a defi- with persons and things, that range of acnite psychological basis. Teachers are al- quaintance with the physical and ideal ready possessed by specific psychological factors of life, which shall afford the assumptions which control their theory background and material for the speand their practice. The greatest obstacle cialized aims and pursuits of later life. to the introduction of certain educational Ile is, or should be, busy in the formation reforms is precisely the permeating per- of a flexible variety of habits whose sole sistence of the underlying psychological immediate criterion is their relation to creed. Traced back to its psychological full growth, rather than in acquiring cerultimates, there are two controlling bases tain skills whose value is measured by of existing methods of instruction. One their reference to specialized technical acis the assumption of a fundamental dis- complishments. This is the radical psytinction between child psychology and chological and biological distinction, I take the adult psychology where, in reality, it, between the child and the adult. It is identity, reigns; viz., in the region of the because of this distinction that children motives and conditions which make for are neither physiologically nor mentally mental power. The other is the assump

describable as little men and women.” tion of likeness where marked difference The full recognition of this distinction is the feature most significant for educa- means of course the selection and arrangetional purposes; I mean the specialization ment of all school materials and methods of aims and habits in the adult, compared for the facilitation of full normal growth, with the absence of specialization in the trusting to the result in growth to provide child, and the connection of undifferen- the instrumentalities of later specialized tiated status with the full and free growth adaptation. If education means the period of the child.

of prolonged infancy, it means nothing The adult is primarily a person with a less than this. But look at our school syscertain calling and position in life. These tem and ask whether the three R's are devolve upon him certain specific respon

taught, either as to subject matter or as sibilities which he has to meet, and call to method, with reference to growth, to into play certain formed habits. The its present demands and opportunities; or child is primarily one whose calling is as technical acquisitions which are to be growth. He is concerned with arriving needed in the specialized life of the adult. at specific ends and purposes-instead of Ask the same questions about geography, having a general framework already de- grammar and history. The gap between veloped. He is engaged in forming habits psychological theory and the existing rather than in definitely utilizing those school practice becomes painfully apparalready formed. Consequently he is ab- ent. We readily realize the extent to sorbed in getting that all around contact which the present school system is dom

inated by carrying over into child life a

standpoint and method which are signifi* Address of the President before the American Psychological Association, New Haven.

cant in the psychology of the adult.

The narrow scope of the traditional sion of a problem which interests and abelementary curriculum the premature and sorbs, is a necessary precondition of menexcessive use of logical analytic methods, tal growth. With the child we assume the assumption of ready-made faculties of that the precondition is rather the willobservation, memory, attention,

, etc., ing disposition which makes him ready which can be brought into play if only to submit to any problem and material the child chooses to do so, the ideal of presented from without. Alertness is our formal discipline—all these find a large ideal in one case; docility in the other. measure of their explanation in neglect With one, we assume that power of attenof just this psychological distinction be- tion develops in dealing with problems tween the child and the adult. The hold which make a personal appeal, and of these affairs upon the school is so fixed through personal responsibility for deterthat it is impossible to shake it in any mining what is relevant. With the other fundamental way, excepting by a thorough we provide next to no opportunities for appreciation of the actual psychology of the evolution of problems out of immedithe case. This appreciation can not be ate experience, and allow next to no free confined to the educational leaders and mental play for selecting, assorting and theorists. No individual instructor can be adapting the experiences and ideas that sincere and whole-hearted, to say nothing make for their solution. How profound of intelligent, in carrying into effect the a revolution in the position and service needed reforms, save as he genuinely un- of text-book and teacher, and in methods derstands the scientific basis and necessity of instruction depending therefrom, of the change.

would be effected by a sincere recognition But in another direction there is the of the psychological identity of child and assumption of a fundamental difference: adult in these respects can with difficulty Namely, as to the conditions which secure be realized. intellectual and moral progress and pow- Here again it is not enough that the er.* No one seriously questions that, educational commanders should be aware with an adult, power and control are ob- of the correct educational psychology. tained through realization of personal The rank and file, just because they are ends and problems, through personal se- persons dealing with persons, must have lection of means and materials which are à sufficient grounding in the psychology relevant, and through personal adaptation of the matter to realize the necessity and and application of what is thus selected, the significance of what they are doing. together with whatever of experimenta- Any reform instituted without such contion and of testing is involved in this ef- viction on the part of those who have fort. Practically every one of these three to carry it into effect, would never be conditions of increase in power for the undertaken in good faith, nor in the spirit adult is denied for the child. For him

which its ideal inevitably demands; conproblems and aims are determined by an- sequently it could lead only to disaster. other mind. For him the material that is At this point, however, the issue defines relevant and irrelevant is selected in ad- itself somewhat more narrowly. It may vance by another mind. And, upon the be true, it is true, we are told, that some whole, there is such an attempt to teach should take hold of psychological methods him a ready-made method for applying and conclusions, and organize them with his material to the solution of his prob- reference to the assistance which they lems, or the reaching of his ends, that the

may give to the cause of education. But factor of experimentation is reduced to this is not the work of the teacher. It the minimum. With the adult we un- belongs to the general educational thequestioningly assume that an attitude of orist: the middleman between the psycholpersonal inquiry, based upon the posses- ogist and the educational practitioner.

He should put the matter into such shape "I owe this point specifically (as well as others more

that the teacher may take the net results generally) to my friend and colleague, Mrs. Ella Flagg Young.

in the form of advice and rules for action; but the teacher who comes in contact contact with sheer, unanalyzed personalwith the living personalities must not ity. The relation is such a purely ethical assume the psychological attitude. If he and personal one that the teacher can not does he reduces persons to objects, and get enough outside the situation to hanthereby distorts, or rather destroys, the dle it intelligently and effectively. He is ethical relationship which is the vital in precisely the condition in which the nerve of instruction (Psychology and Life, physician was when he had no recourse p. 122, and pp. 136-138).

save to deal with health as entity or force That there is some legitimate division on one side, and disease as opposing of labor between the general educational agency or invading influence upon the theorist and the actual instructor, there other. The teacher reacts en bloc, in a is of course no doubt. As a rule, it will gross wholesale way, to something which not be the one actively employed in in- he takes in an equally undefined and total struction who will be most conscious of way in the child. It is the inability to the psychological basis and equivalents regard, upon occasion, both himself and of the educational work, nor most occu- the child as just objects working upon pied in finding the pedagogical rendering each other in specific ways that compels of psychological facts and principles. him to resort to purely arbitrary measures, Of necessity, the stress of interest will be to fall back upon mere routine traditions elsewhere. But we have already found of school teaching, or to fly to the latest reason for questioning the possibility of fad of pedagogical theorists—the latest making the somewhat different direction panacea peddled out in school journals or of interest into a rigid dualism of a legis- teachers' institutes—just as the old physilative class on one side and an obedient cian relied upon his magic formula. subject class on the other. Can the I repeat, it is the fundamental weakness teacher ever receive "obligatory prescrip- of our teaching force to-day (putting aside tions?". Can he receive from another a teachers who are actually incompetent by statement of the means by which he is to reason either of wrong motives or inadereach his ends, and not become hopelesslyquate preparation), that they react in gross servile in his attitude? Would not such to the child's exhibitions in gross without a result be even worse than the existing analyzing them into their detailed and mixture of empiricism and inspiration? constituent ments. he child is anjust because it would forever fossilize the gry, he is dealt with simply as an angry empirical element and dispel the inspira- being; anger is an entity, à force, not a tion which now quickens routine. Can a symptom. If a child is inattentive, this passive, receptive attitude on the part of again is treated as a mere case of refusal the instructor (suggesting the soldier to use the faculty or function of attenawaiting orders from a commanding gen- tion, of sheer unwillingness to act. eral) be avoided, unless the teacher, as a Teachers tell you that a child is careless student of psychology, himself sees the or inattentive in the same final way in reasons and import of the suggestions which they would tell you that a piece of and rules that are proffered him?

paper is white. It is just a fact, and that

is all there is of it. Now it is only through We must find some specific reason in some recognition of attention as a mechthe principles of the teacher's own activi- anism, some awareness of the interplay ties for believing that psychology-the of sensations, images and motor impulses ability to transform a living personality which constitute it as an objective fact into an objective mechanism for the time that the teacher can deal effectively with being-is not merely an incidental help, attention as a function. And, of course, but an organic necessity. Upon the the same is true of memory, quick and whole, the best efforts of teachers at pres- useful observation, good judgment and all ent are partly paralyzed, partly distorted, the other practical powers the teacher is and partly rendered futile precisely from attempting to cultivate. the fact that they are in such immediate Consideration of the abstract concepts

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