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Permit me here to digress for a moment, long enough to enter a protest against the practice prevalent in some schools of putting too great a proportion of time devoted to the subject upon one, or a very few, forms. This is generally done by that kind of teachers which Mr. Blatchley has denominated “microscopic specialists,” who, to use the well-known aphorism of Professor Forbes, are unable to see nature until it has been boiled in corrosive sublimate, fried in paraffine, and sliced with a microtome.
We must have a sufficient number of forms to furnish abundant material for making tables of differences and resemblances. I say it without the slighest fear of successful contradiction that the chief value of botany and zoology, in a high-school course, comes from the fact that they are classificatory sciences. The units of classification are derived from an examination of these tables of resemblances and differences. Hence naturally follows our
7. Seventh content, the training of the mind in forming the general concept of a class or a group. The general idea is formed from the table of resemblances, and includes all the animal forms which characteristics there represented. It does not matter at all that this general idea will become more and more definite, and our tables of resemblances shorter and shorter, as the number of forms studied increases.
The only thing that appeals to us now is the fact that we have here a conscious attempt to generalize, to obtain an idea of a comprehensive term that will include all the particulars.
I think everyone will admit the supreme importance of the activity of generalizing. It leads directly to the highest form of thinking, philosophy; and I have often thought that many of our great philosophers have manifested a "plentiful lack" of training in the elementary processes of generalization, such as I am proposing to give in the subject of zoology.
8. The eighth content of zoology is training in logical definition. A logical definition is one which manifests the nature of the thing defined. It always includes the genus and the differentia, or those characteristics which distinguish the object from others in the same genus. The genus should be the proximum genus. It is thus always derived from a table of differences, either expressed or understood, as shown in Table 8 on the following page.
The genus is expressed by the predicate noun, and the predicate noun always expresses the characters of the table of resemblances from which the general idea is derived.
Discursive thought involves three processes : first, the formation of the concept or the notion ; second, judging; third, reasoning. It will be seen that so far the preceding exposition has dealt entirely with the first, or the notion. I lay so much stress upon the study of zoology because I believe the acquisition of the notion to be the most important
[See Table I.) A Lepidopter is an insect (genus) having scaly wings, sucking mouth parts, indirect metamorphosis, whose larva is a caterpillar, and whose pupa is inactive, etc.
step in thinking, and at the same time the most difficult to attain. It is not too much to say that all healthy minds will judge alike and reason alike, and reach the same conclusion, if they see alike.
There is constant exercise in practical judging and practical reasoning in the study of zoology, but other subjects deal with the formal side in a conscious manner better. Grammar deals with the proposition which is the expression of a judgment. Euclidean geometry deals with formal reasoning exclusively. It appears to me that zoology, grammar, either
, Latin or English - and I would prefer the English - and geometry are the three subjects which may be used to the greatest advantage, with the least loss of energy in training to discursive thinking.
This view of the matter was suggested to me by reading a course in logic while I was teaching zoology and trying to discover what there was in the subject that justified or demanded its introduction into a course of study. It seems to me that we have here a pedagogical principle of considerable value: that for teachers it is better to study dynamic mind than static mind ; that it is better to make formal logic the basis of pedagogical experience than our ordinary psychology.
It is necessary to point out the importance of a method in teaching zoology, or any other subject. The particular discipline indicated can be obtained in learning zoological facts by one method. But if the facts are learned by another method, these particular disciplines may be entirely avoided, and can never thereafter be attained by the study of this subject. While I would affirm that the disciplines I have suggested are by far the most available, they are not the only ones, and the subject may be used for an entirely different purpose.
That it is the discipline involved, and not the knowledge of particular forms acquired, which constitutes the content of the subject will be acknowledged by all when it is recognized that one class of students may study one set of animal forms and another class an entirely different set, with equal benefit.
Colleges, then, that complain of the work of high schools quite generally set up a false standard, and do an injury to the schools when they demand knowledge of particular forms as a test of efficiency, instead of facility in mental processes properly cultivated by the subject.
In all our work it is necessary to keep in mind the fact that it is the pupil that is to be taught and not the subject.
This view of zoölogy fixes its position in a high-school course. Physics and chemistry, being the laboratory subjects that are quantitative, giving a different kind of discipline, and demanding more maturity of mind, should follow the qualtitative subjects of botany and zoology. Physiological processes can best be studied in plants. From this fact, and from the further fact that the differences which are the bases of classification in animals are more easily observable than the differences in plants, it will be found advantageous to put zoölogy in the first year of any high-school course.
The teacher must know the content of his subject. If he does not, he is a bungler and not worth his salary, however meager that may be. But it is not necessary, nor even advisable, that the pupil should know it. The teacher knows that the objects sought are to be found in the disciplines acquired. Let the pupil feel that the object sought is a knowledge of the frog and the tadpole and the earthworm. Here, as elsewhere, the greatest good is apparently incidental.
There are many other reasons why zoology should be studied in high schools. But I have preferred to lay emphasis upon the indisputable propositions that will forever demand its introduction into the schools, and am willing to pass by without comment those advantages which, while often more apparent, are really of less importance than these fundamental disciplines which are of eternal consequence to the human understanding.
SCIENCE IN THE HIGH SCHOOL
MANN RICHARDSON, PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY, LELAND
STANFORD JR. UNIVERSITY, CAL.
When a man wishes to be dogmatic upon a subject, he finds it a great convenience not to know very much about it. Now, I have never been connected with the high school as a teacher, or even as a pupil; you will recognize at once, therefore, that I have certain qualifications for addressing you upon the topic “Science in the High School."
Science has won its place in the curriculum of the high school against much opposition, and under unfavorable conditions -- unfavorable because of the way science was at first taught, and still is taught in some instances on account of which the valuable mental training peculiar to science study was not obtained.
Facts about the sciences were read from text-books ; definitions and classifications were committed to memory with a very hazy notion as to their true import. This unfortunate method of teaching science was in great part due to the fact that, at first, properly trained science teachers were few in number, and to a decided tendency among school authorities to thrust the science work upon some already overcrowded teacher, who had to carry the additional load as best he could. The chief result of this kind of science study upon the pupil is the blunting of his curiosity concerning the sciences, a curiosity which has become widespread, because, in their applied form, the sciences are met with on all sides, and because they have so completely revolutionized our methods of living within the last fifty years.
Whatever excuse there might have been for this method of caring for the sciences at first, there is certainly none now.
There are plenty of well-trained science teachers now to be had, and school boards that are not willing to employ such should have the courage to leave science out of their school altogether. Yet, almost every year I have known of teachers of chemistry who had never studied chemistry before they undertook to teach it, and who were making desperate efforts to keep at least one lesson ahead of their class. Under such conditions there is little to be said in favor of retaining for science a place in the high-school curriculum, and much to be said against it. Nevertheless, science has a real and very important place in our educational system.
Intelligent persons have given up the idea that natural laws will or can be changed for man's benefit, or be brought into accord with man's desires; but they recognize that the same result can be reached by changing themselves, by putting themselves in accord with natural laws. To do this it is necessary to know the laws of nature, and hence it is that the study of the natural sciences has a very wide practical application in teaching people the methods of right living. In addition to the value of the knowledge itself, science, when properly taught, gives a peculiar kind of training, and develops a certain attitude of mind, which are very desirable for the educated man. Science deals with things that are knowable, with facts which, by patient observation and experiment, may be proved.
In proving the facts of science we must exercise patience, impartiality, and absolute honesty. We must observe accurately, distinguish between the important and the unimportant, between the real and the apparent, and learn to weigh evidence, and finally learn to suspend judgment where the evidence is not conclusive. It is sometimes said that science leaves no room for the imagination, and that science teaching destroys the imagination of children. This, it appears to me, is an unjust criticism; for, while science does try to have its knowledge well based upon facts, and has little patience with statements that cannot be proved by any who have the skill and will take the time, in its theories, its guesses at the cause of the phenomena observed, science has need of, and gives, exercise to the most highly developed imagination. In fact, much of the growth of science is due to the continual effort to learn whether the theories, the results of well-guided imagination, are actually in accordance with the facts.
Almost any of the natural sciences, properly taught, will give this kind of training. Indeed, all of the natural sciences are artificial subdivisions of one great whole. As our knowledge increases and the boundaries of the known are extended, one science will merge into another, and we shall see that there are no natural boundary lines between them; all boundary lines are artificial and of our own making. Such a merging of two sciences is now going on between physics and chemistry. Fifteen years ago the merest schoolboy could accurately point out the difference between physics and chemistry; now we find the one passing over into the other, and where we cross the line dividing them those who know the most about it are unable to tell.
As our knowledge of the biological sciences increases on the one hand, and of physics and chemistry on the other, we shall find them drawing together, and some time, in the still distant future, the scientist who tills the intermediate ground will find no real division between these sciences which, from our lack of knowledge concerning them, are now so wide apart.
The experimental sciences have certain advantages for educational purposes in the secondary schools. In these we can reproduce and control many of the forces of nature and govern the conditions under which they are to act. Physics and chemistry are perhaps the most developed of the experimental sciences.
They are studied almost wholly in the laboratory, where the student is able to produce a given set of conditions repeatedly and examine