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industrial and political world have transformed the entire social fabric. The school has felt the action of the new forces and has recognized, in a measure, the validity of the claims represented by cach. The scientific spirit, so strong during the last
. decade, has made itself felt; and we have, in addition to the older geography, the elements of nearly every physical and natural science. Political forces have extended throughout the length and breadth of the land, and appear in the elementary curriculum in the form of civics, political history, and lessons in patriotism. Increasing wealth and leisure are making it possible for art to flourish, and in many quarters it now occupies an important place in the elementary curriculum. The rapid growth of cities, which has attended the development of the factory system, has crowded people together as never before. The consciousness of social responsibility that has been developed in the process is making itself felt, and appears in the school in the demand for a place for the study of social conditions and means of amelioration. The commercial spirit that dominates the age operates to place an emphasis upon the more utilitarian aspects of life. The manual-training movement, which originated in northwestern Europe in the desire to preserve, through school instruction, the technique that was threatening to disappear, has extended to this country, and, under the combined influence of utilitarian and educational forces, has been added to the curriculum. And, finally, educators have become conscious of the fact that there is a deeper significance in the simple house industries in which all children formerly participated than the practical result obtained ; and they are beginning to demand an opportunity for the child to participate in industries that have been transferred from the home to the factory. In spite of all these new and vigorous forces, tradition is still powerful and clings to a Middle-Age formalism with a tenacity that would do credit to a better cause.
It is not strange that for several years the subjects corresponding to such diverse forces as these just enumerated should fail to find in one another mutual support. There has not yet been time for the reconciliation to be made. The lack of unity
has been felt in many places, and attempts have been made, both in theory and in practice, to supply the need. Many tendencies in school practice indicate that the time is ripe for more organized effort than has hitherto been possible. There is less tendency than formerly to occupy children with mere“ busywork." There is an increasing eagerness on the part of teachers of all grades to avail themselves of any opportunity by means of which they can substitute for isolated activities occupations vitally related to the content studies of the period. Teachers of manual training are groping about in search of some clue to the problem of how to co-operate with teachers of other subjects and at the same time preserve the integrity of their own work. The same tendency is manifest in the desire to illustrate the content studies by means of various forms of hand-work. Such tendencies as these, although promising with reference to the temper of the times, are superficial and temporary in their effect. They furnish no principle by means of which to unite head, heart, and hand in a process sufficiently broad and far-reaching in its effects to be truly educative.
The many attempts of educational philosophers to discover a unifying principle need not be reviewed at this time. They serve to suggest that, theoretically at least, the need of such a principle has long been felt. Experiment has added the weight of its evidence toward the same end. Many noteworthy contributions have been made. But, in spite of all these, the curriculum of the elementary school, except in specially favored localities, is in nearly as confused a state as ever.
During the past ten years the attention of the educational world has been focused upon the work of Professor John Dewey. He, more than any other educational philosopher, embodies the spirit of the new age and finds a genuine reconciliation of conAlicting forces within the educational process itself. His work thus stands in marked contrast to previous attempts at unification which have sought a principle of unity in some one phase of the process or from some external source. His analysis of the educational process as to its form and its content is, perhaps, the most remarkable contribution that has yet been made to educational philosophy.' In respect to content, he classifies the various forces in the educational process under two heads: the individual and the social. The individual factor corresponds to the psychological conception of the process and represents the means, the agency, the method ; while the social factor corresponds to the social conception of the process and represents the end, the work to be done, the subject-matter. The point that he emphasizes throughout the discussion is the fact that each of these conceptions, abstracted from the educational process, is but a partial truth, requiring the other in order to give it its true meaning.
Perhaps the most significant fact with reference to the work of Professor Dewey is his educational laboratory, where he is bringing his educational theories to a practical test in the teaching of children of all ages. The general interest manifested in this school the world over indicates the general belief that problems are being worked out there that promise rich results along educational lines.
It is very probable that some of the most fruitful work of this period will be along lines which will render available for general use materials necessary in order to apply the principle that Professor Dewey has been most successful in establishing. Many difficulties are now in the way of the teacher who would make a practical application of the principles. But the very fact that we are becoming conscious of these circumstances as difficulties is a most favorable sign, and promises much toward securing a more rational adjustment than has hitherto been possible.
While such questions are being worked out in a practical way, an attempt is being made to bring to the problem of the elementary school another force which has not generally been recognized as having any relation to the problem. Anthropology is a comparatively new science. The difficulties encountered in the collection of the necessary data and in the interpretation of materials are such as to require the use of refined intellectual
"A complete exposition of this subject may be found in PROFESSOR DEWEY'S unpublished lectures on the “Philosophy of Education.”
tools. For the development of these tools anthropology had to await the development of geology, biology, psychology, sociology, and other kindred sciences. But the organic character of society is illustrated here as elsewhere, and anthropology is now ready to render service to the sciences to which its rise. An examination of its relation to the various sciences and arts would well repay the labor involved in a careful investigation of the subject. But that is too large a subject for this occasion. Attention is invited at this time to but one phase of the larger subject — the relation of anthropology to the curriculum of the elementary school.
The curriculum represents the social factor in the educational process. It corresponds to the stimulus, the individual factor being represented by the response. Since stimulus and response are but two phases of one activity, it is evident that the complexity of the stimulus bears a direct relation to the complexity of the response. That which constitutes the stimulus in a given case is not the external object itself, but the object functioning with reference to the individual. Whether an object functions as a stimulus in a given situation depends upon its relation to the attitudes of the child. These attitudes, which are largely
, the product of remote racial activities, and hence social products in a measure from the first, determine, within fairly definite limits, the nature and complexity of social stimuli. Manifestly it is the part of education to discover these attitudes, in order that materials may be presented that are best adapted to promote the normal growth of the child. It is likewise important to guard against the use of materials that are liable to occasion experiences not conducive to such growth.
Anthropology has made important contributions to the study of the child's attitudes, and, as the science develops, it will undoubtedly yield still greater results. Assuming that the reader is familiar with these results and with the literature of mental development, let us pass directly to the consideration of the relation of anthropology to the elementary curriculum.
Because the child's attitudes are yet comparatively simple, because they have not yet been overlaid by complex social habits, the social forces represented in our highly organized institutions cannot function completely in his life. The greater part of what they represent, not being appropriated by the child, remains as something external and quite foreign to his experience. There are some phases of the complex life about him that he can experience, but too often that which is most vital is obscured in the complexity of the situation. This is as true with reference to the social forces represented in a text-book as with reference to the industrial and social processes observed in the community. In either case it is impossible for the child to gain an experience that is truly educative, for the process represents a technique too advanced for him to control. As long as such a relation exists between the ability of the child and the technique involved in the subject-matter of study, the question of the unification of the curriculum must remain forever unsolved, for the educational process from which the principle of unification is derived is not present. But, if the partial experiences of the child with reference to the complex life about him are supplemented by experiences similar in kind, but of a type suited to his powers, he can deal with the situation in an adequate way; and, if he be encouraged to invent simple ways of improving the crude processes, he gradually acquires such an insight and control as to enable him to recognize the essential elements in the more complex processes of civilized life. Ile is thereby enabled to participate more fully in the life of the present, because he has had the opportunity to experience it in more elementary forms.
Under such circumstances the unification of the curriculum is a simple matter, provided the anthropological materials necessary in order to present the simple forms of present problems are available. Under such favorable conditions the various subjects of the curriculum appear as different phases of one process. The industrial activities of the stage of culture under consideration furnish a proper field for manual training, which, enriched and liberalized by the social experiences of the race which called forth and developed the activity, is no longer open to the criticism that it serves merely utilitarian needs.