Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/398

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398

THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

years of childhood this need is most urgent, but may be regarded as always necessary in the nascent stages of any instinct. The instincts that pertain to vocation are born in adolescence, and agriculture, whether as a means or as an end, furnishes ideal materials and situations with which to work.

Akin to this kinesthetic factor is the value to the young of discovering and exercising his power of control over natural forces. Hitherto much of the work of the school has trained a passive contemplation of the things which concern an education. Here is a subject that incites to action and rewards in a material way the efforts of the youth to take a hand in directing the outcome. He thus gains a much-needed training in his power to get results and produce something of value to society.[1]

There is an educational factor of great and peculiar value known to our pioneer grandparents as [2] but which we prefer to think sufficiently covered by the term [3] The educational value of responsibility has long been known, but to create situations for its exercise is an unheard of thing in education.[4] Perhaps it will never be possible to prescribe experiences that can be as valuable as the real crises of life, nor to be able to prejudge the ability of youth to arise to the occasion when the crisis comes. But if the attempt is to be made by the school to develop a sense of responsibility for the successful issue of an undertaking—and who shall say what the school may not undertake for the good of the young—certainly no one who has ever made the investment which even a small agricultural undertaking entails, and which can neither be delegated nor hastened, can deny the possibilities of this subject.


    "James, Hall, Dewey, Mosso, Wundt, Baldwin and others are preaching a new gospel. They are saying that the child's thought is never dissociated from his muscles; that every idea has a motor aspect; that mind is in one sense a middle term between the senses and the muscles; that it functions for the purpose of guiding conduct; that an idea is not complete until it is realized in action. . . .

    "Viewed from the psychological standpoint it appears that muscular experiences are essential to the gaining of clear, definite, effective ideas in the world."—O'Shea, "Dynamic Factors in Education," pp. 27-29.

  1. "Properly thou hast no other knowledge but what thou hast got by working: the rest is all a hypothesis of knowledge; a thing to be argued in schools, a thing floating in the clouds, in endless logical vortices, till we try and fix it."—Carlyle, "Past and Present; The Blessedness of Work." "The pupil must learn what nature is by trying what he can do with it; thus he measures it in terms of his own strength and skill, and discovers how it can be manipulated; and it is this experience that holds vital knowledge, and that enlists genuine interest."—O'Shea, "Dynamic Factors in Education," p. 52.
  2. hardship,
  3. responsibility.
  4. "One of the last sentiments to be developed in human nature is the sense of responsibility. . . in the development of which our carefully nurtured and protected youth of student age. . . have had little training."—Hall, "Adolescence," Vol. II., p. 415.