Page images
PDF
EPUB

dren are sown the germs of virtue and patriotism; in the veins of buoyant youth are flowing the enthusiasm of loyalty and the ambition of lofty ideals, which have their source only in a wise, and true, and universally diffused education.

In thousands of school-houses all over our land, wise and conscientious manhood, tender and loving womanhood, have been devoted to the task of nursing these seeds of virtue, of directing these currents of enthusiasm.

The cause must ever be greater than the effect. Under the dome of the Capitol and in the chamber of the cabinet the machinery of leg. islation does its work. But the real force lies far back, in the development of brain force, and the training of will power, that gave us men capable of regulating affairs so complex and so vast.

Viewed in this light, our assembly is one of no small import; and its deliberations assume a dignity that can not easily be overrated.

The convention is to be congratulated that it meets under such happy auspices. Its presiding officers are to be congratulated that the willing response of the able men (and women, too) whose services they have solicited, makes it possible to present a programme containing such rare promise of interest and of profit.

ADDRESS OF WELCOME.

BY JOHN W. HOLCOMBE,

Washington, D. C.

Gentlemen of the Department of Superintendence, and Ladies (for there are women superintendents of cities and counties, and we hope some of these are present): I think you will agree with me that Washington is the most hospitable city in the Union. Have you not seen the evidences all around you this wonderful week? You have seen her receive and entertain and make comfortable--more or less-people numbered by the hundred thousand. You have seen an enthusiastic welcome extended to all sorts and conditions and colors and races and trades of men, women, and children-to apprentices and Presidents, to smiths and millers, to carpenters and cabinet-makers, to bureau-builders, wire-puliers, and organ-grinders, to pleasure-seekers, office-seekers, selfseekers, truth-seekers-with hopeful auguries, also, to an old political party returning to power, chastened, it is believed, by defeat, and its virtues renewed by contact with the purity of life and character of the eminent citizen whom the Republic by happy good fortune has secured for its President. But hospitality does not end with the entertainment. The parting guests must receive God-speeds and farewells, and these have been given with hearty good will to many thousands, but to pono more heartily or with more good will than to the brave, strong man who, while guiding the destinies of this great nation, has for four years borne himself in his exalted office with the unaffected simplicity of a citizen among fellow-citizens.

This character of hospitality fitly distinguishes the Federal city, the national city, the city belonging not to herself, but to the entire Union, and here every child of the Republic may properly feel himself something more than a guest, may feel himself at home and among his own, But whether ye, superintendents, principals, presidents, teachers, be held as best-loved guests or as favorite children, the heart of the nation bids you welcome in this her especial seat, and rejoices in the cause of your coming and your stay. She recognizes you not as pleasure-seekers, though wishing you all possible enjoyment within her gates, not as office-seekers, though ready to sympathize with you even in that pursuit, but as truth-seekers winning and diffusing kuowledge for the common weal. In that character she feels honored by your presence, and repeats to you her warmest welcome from yesi* to year. She bids you enter into her temples, her courts, and chambers, as your own; to contemplate her priceless treasures and make them yours, in the enduring possession of the mind; to examine and learn to kuow the many and varied agencies assembled here for promoting as well the intellectual as the material advancement of mankind.

Of these agencies it is permissible in this presence to speak particularly of one, for to the enlightened foresight and the active influence of this Association the United States Bureau of Education owes its existence. At your meeting in Washington, February, 1806, resolutions were framed and adopted, and a committee was appointed to memorialize Congress for the creation of such an office. The work was speedily accomplished, and the ofice, at first called the Department, and after. ward the Bureau of Education, was established. For a time its fortunes seemed uncertain, but gradually the public confidence was wou. Throughout its existence the alliance of the Bureau with your association has been the closest, you it has striven to serve, to you it has looked for aid and encouragement.

To-day it acknowledges the great indebtedness of the past and asks your continued interest for the future; it invites your candid and careful consideration of the work it has already done, and your frank suggestions toward improvement and increased efficiency hereafter. In addi. tion to the general welcome I have tried to speak, I would express in behalf of the Commissioner of Education the hope that no member of the Department of Superintendence will leave Washington without visiting the Bureau which has so intimate a connection with his work,

a

[ocr errors]

TRAINING OF TEACHERS.

PSYCHOLOGY IN ITS RELATION TO PEDAGOGY.

By NICHOLAS MURRAY BUTLER, Ph. D.,

President of the New York College for the Training of Teachers. If any one were formally to undertake to demonstrate that a root is necessary to a tree, a pedestal to a statue, or a knowledge of machinery to an engineer, his arguments would attract but little attention-not because of their possible lack of soundness, but because of the self-evi. dent nature of the proposition to be proved. The proposition that a knowledge of the science of mind is in like manner necessary to an un. derstanding of the science of education possesses for the vast majority of persons no such self-evidence; it is by no means accepted as an axiom. It can not be said that its truth is rigorously denied nor even seriously impugned, but it is either neglected entirely or else accepted in so halting and half-hearted a way that it fails to carry its full sig. nificance as well as to suggest those numerous and important conse. quences which follow in its train. Now, if there is such a thing as a fact of science and if it is worth knowing, it is worth knowing thor. oughly. We can not afford to shrink from the consequences of any truth, even though they entail the abandonment of some favorite prac. tice or the giving up of some pet theory. My object this morning is in a brief and hurried way to prove, largely by illustration, the truth of the proposition that a knowledge of the science of mind is necessary to a knowledge of the science of education; that psychology bears to pedagogy the same relation as does the root to the tree, the pedestal to the statue.

Psychology is the basis on which pedagogy is built and the source of its life and strength. Even if proved, this proposition may not on that account become self-evident, though it is to be hoped that it will. Selfevidence, however, is not the same at all times and seasons, nor for all persons. It is a very familiar fact that certain things whose connection or relation was once a matter of demonstration, afterward come to seem of necessity related or connected. Kant's famous division of all judgments into analytic and synthetic, those which add something to our knowledge and those which simply throw what we already know into a new form, is from one point of view only relative. A judgment which in infancy and youth is synthetic becomes in adult age analytic. The physicist and the chemist make statements self-evident to themselves, but to the rest of the world novel and wonderful. To De Morgan's clear mental vision a logical process which to the student seems involved and doubtful, presented itself as self-evident. Leibnitz admitted as a simple and self-evident law of thought a principle for which Hamilton and Mansel could find no warrant. Perhaps it is not too much to hope that the time will soon come when all teachers and persons interested in education will admit, on a par with the axiom that a straight line is the shortest distance between two points, the fundamental pedagogic truth that an accurate kyowledge of the nature, powers, and processes of the human mind is essential to those whose profession and duty it is to train and develop t'at mind. It must be assumed for the present discussion that a science of education exists and has presented itself in ever increasing definiteness and conformity to its environment. My purpose is to indicate how this science of education, pedagogics, may be traced back to its natural and logical foundation in psychology, and then to point out the general character of the consequences which result from the accepted connection of the two sciences in question.

Education we know to be a process that is much more easily described than detined. It is the unfolding of all the powers and faculties-physical, mental, and moral-latent in man. It begins with birth and ceases only when the faculties fail. But the most important part of education is that which takes place in the early years of life, when a formative influence with a definite end in view is exercised by the teacher on the pupil. It is this portion of education, including the important factors of instruction and school-life, that falls within the scope of pedagogics. We must emphasize the fact that this education, no matter what its particular form, deals directly with the mind, and with the mind only. Even physical education is imparted through intelligence. It is the mind that is appealed to directly and at once. The training of the muscles even is through the mind, and the action on the muscles themselves is thus secondary and indirect. Moral education, the training of character and the formation of habits, no matter how objective it may be, is still education through the pupil's intelligence, and is so far mental. Sometimes, indeed, we hear an education of the senses spoken of, as if it were something that required no purely mental effort or co-operation. Any such doctrine, it must be pointed out, involves gross psychological error. The training of the eye, the ear, the touch, the taste is mental training. The eye can not see; it is only an optical instrument. The lens may be perfect, the retina healthy, the optic nerve intact, yet no sight results unless the optic centers of the brain are present and in organic connection with the optic apparatus. The same is true, mutatis mutandis, of the ear, the touch, and the remaining senses. The senses are indeed “the windows of the soul,” but they are only windows, and not, as some would seem to regard them, souls. It is the mind, then, which is immediately affected and appealed to in education. The ways of approach to it may be many and various, and the ends for which it is approached widely different in character and importance, but the mind remains the only essential element in the process. The effect of an intelligent appreciation of this fact is very great. Those who are accustomed to look clown upon certain forms and phases of education because they employ means of approach to the mind conventionally held to be less dignified than others, inust be driven to inconsistency and incoherence or else to a revision of opinion by the recog. nition of the fact in question. Let him who considers carving and molding, for example, non-mental operations, endeavor to produce a sphere or a cube from the untrimmed block with his knife, and it may safely be asserted that whatever the success of his attempt may be, he will arise from it with an increased respect for the mental ability of one who can rapidly and dexterously carve spheres and cubes. And this is but one of an hundred instances which might be cited. Furthermore, the acceptance of this truth and a knowledge of the psychology of habits bring into prominence the importance of every step in mental life and development. It .forbids us to set aside as insignificant details all those actions and operations usually known as minor and unimportant, but which we now recognize as infiuencing the mind directly and as bear. ing their share in the formation of character. . What right have we dogmatically to assert that some mental processes are more dignified and worthy than others! Where is our warrant for the imperium in imperio that we have set up? It will be granted at once that some forms of the mind's activity are superior to others by reason of their difficults, the character of their results, and their importance for the highest life of the soul. But that is quite another thing from permitting them to arrogate to themselves a superior ethical quality which is denied to their fellows. The one can not become the other, but it can be perfect in its own sphere, humble though we may choose to regard that sphere to be. This and numerous other ethical truths are clearly seen when once the fundamental proposition on which they are based is grasped. But the two aspects of it with which we are just now concerned are the psychological and the educational.

Stated as bluntly as it stands above-a knowledge of the nature, powers, and processes of the human mind is essential to those whose profession and duty it is to train and develop the human mind-our thesis sounds like a truism. Every friend of education could wisb. that it were acted upon as such. We can imagine, however, that it might be said, “Stated theoretically that is all very well ; but how can a knowledge of psychology be used practically by the teacher ? " That word “practically” keeps sounding in our ears, and the demand it voices must be satisfied.

Perhaps it is easier to turn to the negative side of the question first and show what is the practical effect of an ignorance of psychology on

« EelmineJätka »