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The impression made on the mind of the reader by the fore going may be pessimistic and destructive, but a more careful reading will show that it should be the opposite, optimistic and constructive. Curriculum makers are asked to see to it that essentials along all lines should be taught early and often, with the frills put in their proper place. Arithmetic should be given more time and attention, and a fairly complete knowledge of ordinary business operations, taught by dramatization, should be a part of this course. Metric weights and measures should be made compulsory by the government, and our language should be reformed. Last, and not least, school administration should be democratized. The System should be changed.
JOSEPH T. Williams, Drury COLLEGE, SPRINGFIELD, Mo.
PUNIMETATURF the many publications of Professor Ross the most
ambitious and comprehensive is his recent great work, the “Principles of Sociology." While a few
representative concepts are basal in the other sociแuntain
ologies discussed, core ideas are less apparent in Ross's scheme of presentation. The work presents
a wide range of observation and discussion. In Momominin
this article we are concerned with those aspects of it which are especially suggestive to the educator, and, like the other sociologies discussed, it has for the educator rich suggestions. Of the numerous phases of education touched upon we have space for only a few, and the following have been selected: (a) The effect of social contacts upon individual growth. (b) Social environment as a factor in the character of persons and peoples. (c) The place of recreation and of art in life. (d) Eugenics and the education of women. (e) Arguments for the social sciences. (f) Relation of the school to the government. (g) Education as protection against mob mind.
(a) While this book deals with groups and group activities the individual is by no means slighted. He is much in evidence, a fact fortunate for the educator since the individual is the unit of educational endeavor. Ross provides us with a suggestive discussion of the effects of association on individual growth.
There is no such thing as human nature in isolation. It could not develop. A child without human associates would attain a mentality little above that of imbecile. “Self-consciousness, the rise of personality, and the ordinary capacity for thought and emotion are impossible without the give-and-take of life in so
For similar discussions of the theories of other Sociological writers, See Education for March, April, June and September,
ciety. Prison records show that solitary confinement results in madness. The mere privilege of waving a handkerchief at one of his fellows saved the mind of an Italian prisoner. The imaginary companion is well known to child psychology. The "only" child is likely to suffer in his social nature. The essentially social
. nature of a human being has been recognized only lately and the delay in its recognition has worked infinite harm.
The educator is concerned with the growth of personality. This growth is by means of social stimuli. We are dependent upon the recognition of others. Under the heading "The Mirrored Self” are suggestions of the manner of this growth. In its first year the child performs many little acts and watches the social results. The effect produced upon others determines his own estimate of the worth of the act. “The human looking-glass in which the infant sees its little I reflected furnishes it a powerful stimulus to do things. Children brought up in foundling asylums learn to walk and to speak much later than those whose baby efforts call forth the encouraging "obs” and “ahs” of an admiring family, whose sympathy baby soon learns to claim as his right."1 Likewise association stimulates school pupils to achievement. Experience has shown that both the quality and the speed of their work is superior when performed in groups.
The demand for social approval is a life long trait. But we differ greatly in our sensitiveness to the mirrored self, and likewise in the image for which we look. The ambitious man pants for recognition. He wants to figure potently in the minds of others, to be greatly loved, admired or feared. The shallow nature covets approval of his immediate crowd. The wise man is content with the approval of the discerning. The man of highest achievement may be careless whether the public ever learns of his existence; but even he needs an inner circle who understand and appreciate his achievement. In fact the independent character may find satisfaction wholly in the approval of imaginary persons. "He may be serene when all men revile him because in his imagination he sees himself triumphantly justified before some high tribunal of the worthies of the past or of the elite of the generations to come . ... It is rather a fine type that is captivated by the idea of recognition of the unborn."2 But recognition, present or remote, real or imagined, there must be, or purpose and effort will perish.
1 Principles of Sociology, p. 96. 1 Principles of Sociology, p. 114.
What we become is dependent upon social suggestion and approval. Any normal child could develop into something noble and splendid with the certainty of natural law, were it possible by combined efforts of its associates persistently applied to stimulate capacity and approve and disapprove wisely. As factors in the growth of personality, suggestion and approbation have scarcely yet entered into the methodology of education. Not that their place is unrecognized by most teachers, nor that educational writers have overlooked their importance; but we have developed no technique of their use.
(b) It is the fate or fortune of a hmuan being to be born into a social environment which necessarily colors his life. He cannot shake off the effects. Classes take on certain characteristics, whole peoples take on characteristics which are but adjustments to social demand. This fact has caused civilization to grow out of savagery. For centuries culture materials and social standards have accumulated, furnishing man the stage on which he now acts. Ross says of Standards, “The effective social standards constitute, as it were, a trestle by means of which a people rises farther and farther above the plane of the instincts If the higher standards were broken down it would sink to the barbarian level. If all gave way, it would find itself on the moral plane of savages.
. There is no reason to suppose that our original nature is appreciably better than that of our Neolithic ancestors. If we behave much better than they did it is owing to the influence of the social standards we are reared in.”1
Our happiness as civilized men comes from our social inheritance. But civilization presents thousands of types of maladjustment and of arrested development. Both in our own and in other lands are social requirements which act as blights upon the human spirit. Subordination saps character. The servant is humiliated by the tip he accepts. The disappearance of household industries has increased the economic dependence of the wife. The dependence of teachers and preachers upon wealthy governing boards lessens their vigor as social reformers. Economic serfdom dwarfs manhood. Whole peoples show degenerate traits when subjected to subjugation and inequalities. Ross refers to the "pliant and slippery character” of the peoples long under the yoke of the Turk. In most sections of our country the Negro can feel himself but a half man. “Dependence wilts manhood as surely as the tropic sun wilts northern energy! However stiff the native backbone of a race, a few generations under the yoke will make them worms The type of character we stigmatize as "Asiatic," testifies, not to the presence of innate weakness in the races of Asia, but to their long subjection to arbitrary power. The nearer a class is to the bottom of the social heap, the worse will its members be deformed in spirit, and the less often will they exhibit the normal traits of freeman."2
2 Ibid, p. 116. i Principles of Sociology, p. 564.
Unfortunately, characteristics wholly social in origin are interpreted as psycho-physical. “In born dependents, servility sycophancy, lying and petty thievery are as natural as it is natural for a starving crop to be yellow; yet these by-products of pressure are pointed to as proofs of a poor moral endowment. Against a background of such faults stand out the more brilliantly the high spirit, manliness, and sense of honor of the hereditary superiors. Character-contrasts social in origin are interpreted as inborn. To divert attention from their underpinning of privilege, the superiors point to the low-caste and say: 'Look, they are the dull-witted, the incapable; we are the well-born, the fittest. Our mastership and our reward are of Nature's own giving. We are the cream that rises to the top of the milk."1
The turn of human character at the twist of the social environ
2 Ibid, p. 366.