Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/447

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.




By Director R. H. THURSTON,


THE preparation of the man who has chosen to enter a profession involves, properly, suitability for the profession chosen, in character, ability and a special talent, if not a genius, as a basis and an excuse for that preparation. It should include a general education sufficient to give the individual the knowledge and culture demanded, in this generation, of all who aspire to enroll themselves in the ranks of the leaders of the professions, broad enough and deep enough to command respect and to justify confidence both in the man's attainments and in their utilization. It must involve training, both gymnastic and 'practical,' and development of that strength and maturity without which the professional apprenticeship of the special school can not be appreciated or its best results attained. Education, in the commonly accepted meaning of the term, should be carried as far and as high as the time, the means and the ability of the man permit and continued, if possible, until he has acquired maturity, earnestness, intelligent ambition and thorough assurance that he has chosen the right field of work for his life's long endeavors. Yet, from the day when it becomes certain that his field of work may be safely selected, a thread of special preparation may run through all the sequence of his studies without injury to their value in the development of the man.

Mathematics may be taught by examples selected from the practical problems of the coming days of professional work; modern languages may be given large place in the curriculum; the sciences may be studied in a serious manner and intensively; these latter studies may be made to conspire for his advantage in the reading of scientific matter in foreign literatures. In many and very various ways, the bent of the child, the youth, the man, may be favored without loss of culture and with the great advantage of stimulating and maintaining his interest throughout. But, in the earlier stage, it would be a mistake to sacrifice culture and gymnastic training, true education, to professional training. Quite enough can usually be accomplished in the manner just indicated without observable distortion of the general education which every youth should rightfully claim. As secondary education and collegiate work in the 'liberal' arts are to-day conducted, it is probably always possible to secure a large part of the needed sci-

  1. Read before the N. Y. State Science Teachers' Association, Syracuse meeting, December 30, 1902.