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I would point out, first, that in the early stages of the instruction in all branches, the past experience of the child and the experience easily obtainable from his natural and social environment, is an important factor in the determination of a proper sequence. But this influence is a perpetually changing one, and is alike in no two school neighborhoods. The environment in the city differs vastly from that of the country, while different cities, different parts of the same city, and different rural neighborhoods present widely varying aspects. Imperative though it is that we take environment seriously into account in the determination of the choice and sequence of topics, yet, on the whole, it seems in itself more of a disorganizing than an organizing principle. It is only by isolating and emphasizing certain of its elements that the teacher can make environment contribute to unity of studies.
The second psychological factor that I would mention is a formal and constant one, holding to a large extent for all children alike. It pertains to the various stages of mental development, observable in all children. The advantage of such a principle is easily perceived, since, if children have common stages of development, we can, by grading them properly, easily adapt the work of each study to the class, and, using a common principle of selection for the various topics in the different branches, we can bring them into important perceivable relations. This fact explains why the Herbartians lay so much stress upon the so-called culture epochs as a guide to sequence. The value and limitations of the principle are discussed in Dr. Van Liew's masterly exposition to be found in the new "YearBook of the Herbart Society for the Scientific Study of Teaching." The limits of the present paper preclude further discussion of this point.
The third factor in determining sequence is the logical unfolding of the studies themselves as completed systems of thought. This order, though of undoubted significance, is not the one in which these subjects were actually developed, and it is often at sad variance with the child's understanding and interest. It did very well as a principle of sequence so long as the child was left out of the calculation, but taken by itself is now quite inadequate to a solution of the problem.
This whole problem of sequence is so new, so complicated, so fundamental, that its adequate discussion is quite beyond the range of a limited paper like the present.
We come now to the co-ordination of studies in the wider sense of discovering and bringing to consciousness the still intimate relations that actually exist among the various departments of learning. History has relations to geography, geography to science, science to number, and literature to all of these. How can these natural relations be utilized to enhance the interest and insight of the pupil and to aid in forming the desirable habit of bringing all pertinent knowl. edge to bear on conduct?
It is here that we come for the first time to the conventional pedagogical use of the word "concentration.” It originated with Ziller, and signified with him that about the culture studies, history, and religion, all other branches should be concentrated, or related in such a way as to take the principle of their selection and sequence from the two leading subjects, the sequence in these being determined by the so-called culture epochs. The reason for this arrangement is, that the end of education is conceived to be moral training through instruction, and the assumption is made that biblical and profane history are par excellence the studies that reveal the moral order of the world. The validity of the very groundwork of Ziller's scheme must, however, be questioned, at least on this side of the Atlantic; for, in the first place, we can hardly teach Biblical history in schools at all, and, in the second place, it would not be difficult to show that geography, as suggested in this paper, literature, and perhaps mathematical science, are quite as potent instruments as history for revealing the moral order of the world. At any rate, they do reveal relations that are quite as important. It is questionable wisdom, therefore, to subject these studies to principles of selection and sequence that arise from the needs of alien subjects. Ziller's reasons for thus attempting to fuse all the ideas of the child into a mass whose center is an ethical conception, are founded on two assumptions, as follows:
1. That the whole effort of instruction must be to turn the mind directly and constantly to the good, the influence of indirect moral teaching being denied or ignored.
2. That interest and volition grow in strength as ideas are unified and concentrated.
Neither of these assumptions is well sustained by psychology or experience.
To keep continually harping on the strings of sensibility, to point a moral to every tale, to preach a perennial sermon in the schoolroom, is to make moral prigs or moral rebels. As Dr. Harris well says in his report, “The child protects his inner individuality against effacement through external authority by taking an attitude of rebellion against stories with an appended moral." If this is true of literature, which has a distinct moral content, what must be the result of constantly trying to arouse the moral sense through the agency of non-moral subjects like mathematics and science? Ziller's idea of moral training seems to be a pietistic attempt to dissolve the soul in sentiment; but all such efforts quickly reach their limit, especially in an age like the present, in which sentimentality is mostly confined to those who are not in contact with the active realities of life.
Not less defective is his second assumption, that interest and volition are proportional to the amount of association to be found among the ideas, for both interest and volition are checked by irrelevant, accidental, or opposing associations as much as they are assisted by pertinent and natural ones. We must, indeed, be able to focus the resources of the mind upon each line of conduct; but no two lines are likely to demand the same combination of ideas. It follows, therefore, that associations must be founded upon natural and important relations, not upon artificial or subjective ones.
However suggestive we may find Ziller's scheme of concentration, especially in the primary grades, the conclusion from this argument is, that for American schools it must be rejected in principle.
The ablest exposition and defense of this form of correlation, though it must be confessed much modified by American conditions, experience, and common sense, is that from the pen of Dr. Frank McMurry in the "Herbart Year-Book," referred to a moment ago.
Another form of so-called concentration has been attempted in the United States, which places science at the center and which makes the ultimate unity of natural law the basis of correlation. This plan obliterates in principle the lines of investigation that gave us departments of study. Each concrete science blends with the others, while linguistic and mathematical form studies have only a borrowed validity, being merely modes of expression or judgment for the uttering of intrinsic thought. Philosophy does not question the existence of this ultimate synthesis of these fields of knowledge through a network of intertwining relations; but education may well question the advisability of adopting the step-by-step method of mastering knowledge, such as is pursued when we attack it along the lines of study indicated by near, closely connected, and obvious relations. Where cross-relations between different studies are close and more important than those determining the sequence in the individual studies themselves they may be utilized in correlation, but to set a child in the maze of recorded knowledge without the guidance of definite lines of study would be like abandoning him in a pathless forest.
This form of concentration which sacrifices all specific depart. ments of study to an ideal philosophic unity, like that of Ziller, which subordinates most studies to a few, cannot, therefore, be unconditionally accepted as a guide to the correlation of studies in the American public schools.
It has been claimed in this paper, that, in order to effect the cor. relation of studies, violence should not be done to the integrity of
any one of the great departments by making its choice and sequence of parts depend upon the convenience of alien branches, yet a word may be spoken concerning those studies in which the logical sequence is of the least and the psychological of the most importance. To this class belong, especially, literature, geography, and science. No less an author than Professor Huxley failed, even in the high school grades, when he attempted to teach biology strictly in accordance with the logical order of evolution in nature.' He found it better to follow the lead indicated by experience, environment, and interest. The biologist now emphasizes the study of the types that lie nearest to the experience and interest of his pupils. This being true, there is no good reason evident why the correlationist may not, in the early grades at least, determine the order of the types that the child shall study somewhat in accordance with the interests of other subjects. Yet, nevertheless, science must remain science; it must not be dissolved in literature, history, or geography.
Literature, again, has no necessary logical sequence. The theory of culture epochs gives us many hints as to the types best adapted to the mind of the child at the various epochs of its development. But, after granting that literature for the child shall be childlike (not childish), we are free to determine as we will the order in which we shall take it up. Nor should we lose sight of the purpose for which we correlate literature to other subjects. There is a literature of nature, of society, of history, of industry, and its function in all these cases is to idealize facts; it is to cast a glow of feeling over hard realities, to bring the æsthetic and moral into juxtaposition with the material and prosaic. Literature, therefore, is a natural correlating agency, serving to unite in the child's mind the ideal and the real. Knowledge must not be dissolved in literature, but there is no reason why the hardest of material facts should not be softened and idealized by the glow of her transcendent beauty.
Geography, as has been said, unites man and nature through industry and commerce, yet after a few elementary ideas have been acquired, we are free to choose any field of geographical knowledge that may be made desirable by the demands of history or science. I think it consonant with truth and sound educational doctrine to make these concessions to the ably defended position taken by my friend, Dr. Frank McMurry, in the "Year-Book" of the Herbart Society.
Finally, I have not deemed it prudent to discuss at length that form of correlation known as the relation of form to thought studies. No topic has of late years attracted so much attention from live teachers, and especially from the courageous work and writings of Col. F. W. Parker, whose example we seek to emulate, and whose noble contributions on this subject we are proud to honor.
WHAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED IN CO-ORDINATION IN
THE FIELD OF NATURAL SCIENCE.
BY WILBUR S. JACKMAN, COOK COUNTY NORMAL SCHOOL,
The great activity in the educational movement of the present time has resolved itself almost wholly into a search for fundamental principles. The times are distinctively scientific. We are entering upon an era that will be dominated by a belief in the supremacy of natural law. This creed, the simplest, the most comprehensive that the world has ever known, and the only one that all peoples oan adopt, is to be from now henceforth the great rallying center, the great harmonizing influence, in every field of human thought. The debt of our age of science is not, alone, for the direct results, attained through scientific study and research; it is chiefly for that respect for natural law, daily growing more profound, which her achievements have engendered in every intelligent being.
All study is an investigation of relations for the purpose of finding the natural law by which they are determined. In a course of study, philosophically planned, the so-called different subjects of study must be so arranged that their natural and mutual relations shall most readily appear. The subject-matter of all study appears to be reducible to that which presents itself to us under the conception of energy. It is through the fundamental conception of energy that the essential unity of all subjects of study appears, and they, then, present themselves simply as varying aspects of the one all-embracing subject.
The region of human study includes the human being itself; it embraces the student himself among the things to be studied, all alike being subject to the same unyielding law. The human student himself is a means for the transfer and transformation of energy, not more divine in either his origin or destiny than the so-called brute, the plant, the cloud, or the sunbeam. The mutual and irreversible relations which the mind perceives to exist among the different subjects of study, and through which they become organized into a unified whole, may be termed, for convenience, logical relations; those through which the different subjects naturally unfold themselves to the mind of the student may be termed the psychological relations. If one may correctly judge by the nature of the different curriculums prepared in the past and at the present time, there is this fundamental difference between the old and the new education: the former placed the greater stress upon the logical relations of subject matter and the latter places the emphasis upon the psychological relations.