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PREFACE During 1910, 1911, and 1912, as a part of a general plan to write a book on education, I reread a great deal of the classical educational literature, and carefully perused most of the current material in magazine and book form. An interest aroused by undergraduate and graduate work in the department of pedagogy had been whetted by the revolutionary activity in every field of educational endeavor. The time seemed ripe for an effective... more...

CHAP. I. On the Importance of establishing the Science of Educationon a solid Foundation. Education is at present obviously in a transition state. The public mind has of late become alive to the importance of the subject; and all persons are beginning to feel awake to the truth, that something is yet wanting to insure efficiency and permanence to the labours of the teacher. The public will not be satisfied till some decided change has taken... more...

Words and terms have, to different minds, various significations; and we often find definitions changing in the progress of events. Bailey says learning is "skill in languages or sciences." To this, Walker adds what he calls "literature," and "skill in anything, good or bad." Dr. Webster enlarges the meaning of the word still more, and says, "Learning is the knowledge of principles or facts received by instruction or study; acquired knowledge or... more...

THE CHIEF AIM OF EDUCATION. What is the central purpose of education? If we include under this term all the things commonly assigned to it, its many phases as represented by the great variety of teachers and pupils, the many branches of knowledge and the various and even conflicting methods in bringing up children, it is difficult to find a definition sufficiently broad and definite to compass its meaning. In fact we shall not attempt in the... more...

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION—THE PRESENT UNREST IN EDUCATION The problems as to the end or ends at which our educational agencies should aim in the training and instruction of the children of the nation, and of the right methods of attaining these ends once they have been definitely and clearly recognised, are at the present day receiving greater and greater attention not only from professed educationalists, but also from statesmen and the... more...


INTRODUCTION. § 1. The science of Pedagogics cannot be derived from a simple principle with such exactness as Logic and Ethics. It is rather a mixed science which has its presuppositions in many others. In this respect it resembles Medicine, with which it has this also in common, that it must make a distinction between a sound and an unhealthy system of education, and must devise means to prevent or to cure the latter. It may therefore... more...

PREFACE. We shall not imitate the invidious example of some authors, who think it necessary to destroy the edifices of others, in order to clear the way for their own. We have no peculiar system to support, and, consequently, we have no temptation to attack the theories of others; and we have chosen the title of Practical Education, to point out that we rely entirely upon practice and experience. To make any progress in the art of education, it... more...

INTRODUCTION The four essays on education which Herbert Spencer published in a single volume in 1861 were all written and separately published between 1854 and 1859. Their tone was aggressive and their proposals revolutionary; although all the doctrines—with one important exception—had already been vigorously preached by earlier writers on education, as Spencer himself was at pains to point out. The doctrine which was comparatively... more...

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INTRODUCTION In times of anxiety and discontent, when discontent has engendered the belief that great and widespread economic and social changes are needed, there is a risk that men or States may act hastily, rushing to new schemes which seem promising chiefly because they are new, catching at expedients that have a superficial air of practicality, and forgetting the general theory upon which practical plans should be based. At such moments... more...

THE POINT OF VIEW There is an endless, and perhaps worldwide, controversy as to what constitutes the "essentials" of education; and as to the steps to be taken in the teaching of these essentials. The safe plan for constructive workers appears to be to avoid personal educational philosophies and to read all the essentials of education within the needs and processes of the community itself. Since we are using this social point of view in making... more...