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ence (a) to the subject-matter, not as science, but in its relation to the learning mind. (b) The investigation in a broad way may be said to come under the caption child-study or genetic psychology. That is, it should include anything that will give us a fuller, clearer and more sympathetic knowledge of a child as a living, developing being. Whatever relates to his development ontogenetically, phylogenetically, would be proper subject for study.
These two lines of study are usually taken up by two entirely different persons; the subjects by the specialists in those sciences, and the genetic psychology by the psychologist, sui generis. But here the normal school teacher occupies a unique position; the two phases of the problem can never be wholly divorced in his mind. Here is the child to be trained and developed, and there are the subjects which are to serve as means toward ends; what are the relations between the two? What will be the effect of the subject upon the learner? How will the learner react upon the subject? Is the subject adapted in method, arrangement, to age of learner, to sex of learner, to temperament of learner, to season of year or time of day? etc. If not adapted, what will make it so? These and numberless other considerations which have no scientific or practical interest for the scientist, who usually outlines the subjects, or for the psychologist, who usually writes the pedagogical prescriptions,— these considerations are what make the position of the normal school unique.
Now, the normal school, it seems to me, should not be so wedded to the practical results of schoolroom technique that it cannot enrich its vision by glimpses of real scholastic investigation which will infuse life and energy into all its work. One piece of real work actually performed by a normal teacher, which his pupils may view, would do more to inspire them to want to do than any amount of talking about somebody's work. Just as students learn to draw best from a teacher who can draw, to sing best from a teacher who can sing, and to write from a good penman, in the same way I am convinced they would learn more about composition, for example, from a teacher who would actually compose than from the study of all the composition books in the land. After all, it is interest and
desire to conquer that really conquers, and the teacher who can do inspires students to do. What happened long ago, far away or to utter strangers enkindles little interest. The law of immediateness as a factor in interest is too little understood.
This all has its bearing upon investigative work in normal schools. One of the most frequently reiterated pedagogical platitudes is that the pupil should learn to find out for himself.
Now, the normal teacher who is an investigator will teach so as to inspire his students to find out, and the student who becomes independent will lead his pupils to find out. But the normal teacher who dogmatizes will lead his pupils to learn mechanically and unquestioningly, and the students in turn will dogmatize, and their pupils will in turn learn only as they are commanded. In the matter of learning to find out for oneself an ounce of example is worth ten pounds of precept. It is said of the late Professor Pierce, of Harvard, that every boy, no matter how dull, who was under his tutelage a month aspired to be a great mathematician. One of the greatest compliments I ever heard students pay a teacher was: "Why, that teacher acts as though he were a student himself. He is ever engaged in studying and trying to find out." His students were soon ablaze with enthusiasm for finding out for themselves. The first requisite in inspiring research is a teacher who not only points but leads the way. It is this zeal, in discovery and investigation that has actuated and developed such great teachers as Pestalozzi and Froebel, the brightest stars in the firmament of teachers of children; again in more specialized lines the name of Agassiz will ever be an example to young scientists; Joseph Henry in physics; Chauvenet in mathematics; Erasmus, Agricola and Melanchthon in the classics; Woolsey in constitutional law; Faraday in chemistry; Huxley in biology; Lotze in philosophy; and in philosophy and theology the brilliant Abelard, who drew students from the whole civilized world. From among contemporaries we may cite the German psychologist, Wundt, who, though the most renowned professor in Germany, toiled for a score of years in an old laboratory so dark and dingy that daylight scarce penetrated it, yet he was as regular as the sun. Again, our own Dr. W. T. Harris, who, though advanced in years, still has his
work piled mountain-high; who, though he has penetrated that philosophic realm where few save Plato saw, is still interested. in the investigation of the minutest details of school statistics that may help in bettering our schools. And lastly, that man whom we must all acknowledge, no matter how much we may differ from him, as the one at whose torch more persons have kindled their fires of enthusiasm in education than of any other man living. I refer to Pres. G. Stanley Hall. It is an inspiration and an incentive to merely observe the man's methods of work. At his desk from twelve to fourteen hours daily, though nearly sixty years of age, going up and down stairs two or three steps at a time, preparing and delivering more speeches, writing more articles, investigating more topics, suggesting more topics, traveling more miles in pursuit of knowledge than any other educator living. One does not need to study his categorical prescriptions to learn; to be with him an hour teaches you how to learn. Work, work, ceaseless push and energy, is the secret of learning. Would we had more of that kind of teaching by example in all our schools!
I fancy I hear some one say that the procedure of such men is opposed to methodical teaching; that all would be chaos. Throw your fear to the winds! But if desired, it is easy to speak the names of men most illustrious as teachers, who have been equally great investigators in the true sense that they were persistent and independent seekers for truth. Witness such names as Mark Hopkins of Williams College, Minor of Virginia, Hickok of Amherst, McCosh of Princeton, Bascom of Wisconsin, the late Thomas Hill Green of Oxford, John Caird of Glasgow, Cousin of France, and Schelling and Hegel of Germany; all men who have materially enriched the sum of human knowledge, and at the same time have been the greatest exponents of order and method,-two indispensable factors in instructing the young.
Now, I have indicated briefly the great value and the necessity of investigative work in all higher schools; and have also hinted at the two general directions which the work may take. I shall now attempt to point out more specifically some of the investigative work which normal faculties may properly undertake. That investigation which I have chosen to call genetic psychology, or child-study, might properly include any topic that is susceptible of investigation away from laboratories. For example, the last word has not by any means been said upon interest; it is a very "catchy" word, much more talked about than understood. This would be a topic which could be investigated in many and diverse directions; e. g., interests in various studies; varying interests at different ages; interests as deter
mined by school work, by teachers, by companions, by books, by apperceptive material already assimilated; interests in plays, games, travel and adventure, animals, natural phenomena, final causes, a supreme being, religion; interest in self, interest in society, etc.
To illustrate how indefinite our knowlege of interests is, only recently in a State association a very earnest discussion arose in one of these meetings as to whether children are interested more in the fairy tale or the true story. Some were sure one answer is correct, others were sure of the opposite answer. Both cited cases to confirm their views. Certain psychologists have maintained that all children love fairy tales, and teachers make children read them because they believe these are the right mental pabulum. Others reject the theory, and will allow their children nothing that smacks of fairy lore. I am not going to determine which side is right. But the question deserves most careful consideration, and only the greatest care will determine whether these interests are instinctive or purely factitious (for this is the point here at issue). The educative value of various plays and games would prove a valuable and fruitful line of work. I am not sure but the kindergartners might be somewhat disillusioned, and perhaps much benefited by such a study.
The whole question of work and fatigue is new and promising; the effects of work, and the relation between mental and physical work at different stages of work, needs much careful study. And without giving details I may simply enumerate in a merely suggestive way several other lines of research; e. g., imitation, (a) of that which is beneficial, (b) of that which is harmful the influence of books, of companions, of teacher, of parents, of brothers and sisters, of playmates; the only child in the family; studies of defective vision and hearing, defective nutrition with relation to nervousness; a study of adolescence, the culture epochs, memory, attention, children's drawings, heredity and environment, arrested development, the child's growing sense of social relations and duties, etc. And so I might go on and enumerate, but I have given enough to show that numberless problems are ever at hand, and that there is need of light upon them. Why, during these meetings of the State Teachers' Association, I have heard the wildest sorts of claims for both heredity and environment. Careful investigation would at least make one conservative in his assumptions.
(Concluded next month.)
THE ELECTIVE SYSTEM IN HIGH SCHOOLS.*
PRINCIPAL CHARLES CORNELL RAMSAY, OF THE B. M. C. DURFEE HIGH SCHOOL, FALL RIVER, MASS.
N discussing the elective system in high schools I will speak first of its theoretical, and secondly of its practical aspects.
I. Theoretical aspects: Philosophically speaking, the question of elective studies is subjective rather than objective; pedagogically, it involves-among several important principles(1) the promotion, development and growth of self-activity, and (2) the education values of different subjects in the school curriculum.
When I first began to teach, at the age of fifteen, little-perhaps nothing in America—had been written on the subject of education values, except the classical and standard discussions, such as Plato's, Lord Bacon's and Mr. Spencer's (Professor Bain's came a little later), which were to me unknown and inaccessible. In my own early consideration of the subject I groped, therefore, for fundamental principles, and after several years worked out, largely by myself, a theory of education values. Later, I was greatly aided by an honored instructor, Professor (now Chancellor) William H. Payne. The conclusions then reached were briefly as follows:
1. School education, in imparting knowledge or information for guidance in life (the so-called practical side of education), affects the human mind in two ways:
a. It makes the mind work at varying degrees of tension, and thus, through intellectual discipline, develops mental power; and
b. It forms and develops mental tastes, and affords intellectual pleasures and satisfactions, and thus gives culture. Or, to put the same truths in another way:
2. School education aims at (1) guidance in life through the imparting of knowledge, for which it is not necessary to make the pupil always follow the path of the pioneer or original discoverer, by means of strictly laboratory methods and those of original research; (2) mental discipline, to develop power;
An address before the High School Section of the Massachusetts State Teachers' Associa tion, in Boston, Dec. 2, 1899.