G. Stanley Hall.

Youth: Its Education, Regimen, and Hygiene online

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President of Clark University and
Professor of Psychology
And Pedagogy


I have often been asked to select and epitomize the practical and
especially the pedagogical conclusions of my large volumes on
Adolescence, published in 1904, in such form that they may be
available at a minimum cost to parents, teachers, reading circles,
normal schools, and college classes, by whom even the larger volumes
have been often used. This, with the coöperation of the publishers and
with the valuable aid of Superintendent C.N. Kendall of Indianapolis,
I have tried to do, following in the main the original text, with only
such minor changes and additions as were necessary to bring the topics
up to date, and adding a new chapter on moral and religions education.
For the scientific justification of my educational conclusions I must,
of course, refer to the larger volumes. The last chapter is not in
"Adolescence," but is revised from a paper printed elsewhere. I am
indebted to Dr. Theodore L. Smith of Clark University for verification
of all references, proof-reading, and many minor changes.




Introduction: Characterization of the age from eight to twelve - The
era of recapitulating the stages of primitive human development - Life
close to nature - The age also for drill, habituation, memory work, and
regermination - Adolescence superposed upon this stage of life, but
very distinct from it


Muscles as organs of the will, of character, and even of thought - The
muscular virtues - Fundamental and accessory muscles and functions - The
development of the mind and of the upright position - Small muscles as
organs of thought - School lays too much stress upon these - Chorea - Vast
numbers of automatic movements in children - Great variety of
spontaneous activities - Poise, control, and spurtiness - Pen and tongue
wagging - Sedentary school life vs. free out-of-door activities - Modern
decay of muscles, especially in girls - Plasticity of motor habits at


Trade classes and schools, their importance in the international
market - Our dangers and the superiority of German workmen - The effects
of a tariff - Description of schools between the kindergarten and the
industrial school - Equal salaries for teachers in France - Dangers from
machinery - The advantages of life on the old New England farm - Its
resemblance to the education we now give negroes and Indians - Its
advantage for all-sided muscular development


History of the movement - Its philosophy - The value of hand training in
the development of the brain and its significance in the making of
man - A grammar of our many industries hard - The best we do can reach
but few - Very great defects in manual training methods which do not
base on science and make nothing salable - The Leipzig system - Sloyd is
hypermethodic - These crude peasant industries can never satisfy
educational needs - The gospel of work; William Morris and the arts and
crafts movement - Its spirit desirable - The magic effects of a brief
period of intense work - The natural development of the drawing
instinct in the child


The story of Jahn and the Turners - The enthusiasm which this movement
generated in Germany - The ideal of bringing out latent powers - The
concept of more perfect voluntary control - Swedish gymnastics - Doing
everything possible for the body as a machine - Liberal physical
culture - Ling's orthogenic scheme of economic postures and movements
and correcting defects - The ideal of symmetry and prescribing
exercises to bring the body to a standard - Lamentable lack of
correlation between these four systems - Illustrations of the great
good that a systematic training can effect - Athletic records - Greek
physical training


The view of Groos partial, and a better explanation of play proposed
as rehearsing ancestral activities - The glory of Greek physical
training, its ideals and results - The first spontaneous movements of
infancy as keys to the past - Necessity of developing basal powers
before those that are later and peculiar to the individual - Plays that
interest due to their antiquity - Play with dolls - Play distinguished
by age - Play preferences of children and their reasons - The profound
significance of rhythm - The value of dancing and also its
significance, history, and the desirability of reintroducing
it - Fighting - Boxing - Wrestling - Bushido - Foot-ball - Military
ideals - Showing off - Cold baths - Hill climbing - The playground
movement - The psychology of play - Its relation to work


Classification of children's faults - Peculiar children - Real fault as
distinguished from interference with the teacher's ease - Truancy, its
nature and effects - The genesis of crime - The lie, its classes and
relations to imagination - Predatory activities - Gangs - Causes of
crime - The effects of stories of crime - Temibility - Juvenile crime and
its treatment


Knightly ideals and honor - Thirty adolescents from
Shakespeare - Goethe - C.D. Warner - Aldrich - The fugitive nature of
adolescent experience - Extravagance of autobiographies - Stories that
attach to great names - Some typical crazes - Illustrations from George
Eliot, Edison, Chatterton, Hawthorne, Whittier, Spencer, Huxley,
Lyell, Byron, Heine, Napoleon, Darwin, Martineau, Agassiz, Madame
Roland, Louisa Alcott, F.H. Burnett, Helen Keller, Marie Bashkirtseff,
Mary MacLane, Ada Negri, De Quincey, Stuart Mill, Jefferies, and
scores of others


Change from childish to adult friends - Influence of favorite
teachers - What children wish or plan to do or be - Property and the
money sense - Social judgments - The only child - First social
organizations - Student life - Associations for youth controlled by


The general change and plasticity at puberty - English teaching - Causes
of its failure, (1) too much time to other languages, (2)
subordination of literary content to form, (3) too early stress on eye
and hand instead of ear and mouth, (4) excessive use of concrete
words - Children's interest in words - Their favorites - Slang - Story
telling - Age of reading crazes - What to read - The historic
sense - Growth of memory span


Equal opportunities of higher education now open - Brings new dangers
to women - Ineradicable sex differences begin at puberty, when the
sexes should and do diverge - Different interests - Sex tension - Girls
more mature than boys at the same age - Radical psychic and
physiological differences between the sexes - The bachelor women - Needed
reconstruction - Food - Sleep - Regimen - Manners - Religion - Regularity -
The topics for a girls' curriculum - The eternally womanly


Dangers of muscular degeneration and overstimulus of
brain - Difficulties in teaching morals - Methods in Europe - Obedience
to commands - Good habits should be mechanized - Value of scolding - How
to flog aright - Its dangers - Moral precepts and
proverbs - Habituation - Training will through
intellect - Examinations - Concentration - Originality - Froebel and the
naive - First ideas of God - Conscience - Importance of Old and New
Testaments - Sex dangers - Love and religion - Conversion



Introduction: Characterization of the age from eight to twelve - The
era of recapitulating the stages of primitive human development - Life
close to nature - The age also for drill, habituation, memory, work and
regermination - Adolescence superposed upon this stage of life, but
very distinct from it.

The years from about eight to twelve constitute a unique period of
human life. The acute stage of teething is passing, the brain has
acquired nearly its adult size and weight, health is almost at its
best, activity is greater and more varied than it ever was before or
ever will be again, and there is peculiar endurance, vitality, and
resistance to fatigue. The child develops a life of its own outside
the home circle, and its natural interests are never so independent of
adult influence. Perception is very acute, and there is great immunity
to exposure, danger, accident, as well as to temptation. Reason, true
morality, religion, sympathy, love, and esthetic enjoyment are but
very slightly developed.

Everything, in short, suggests that this period may represent in the
individual what was once for a very protracted and relatively
stationary period an age of maturity in the remote ancestors of our
race, when the young of our species, who were perhaps pygmoid, shifted
for themselves independently of further parental aid. The qualities
developed during pre-adolescence are, in the evolutionary history of
the race, far older than hereditary traits of body and mind which
develop later and which may be compared to a new and higher story
built upon our primal nature. Heredity is so far both more stable and
more secure. The elements of personality are few, but are well
organised on a simple, effective plan. The momentum of these traits
inherited from our indefinitely remote ancestors is great, and they
are often clearly distinguishable from those to be added later. Thus
the boy is father of the man in a new sense, in that his qualities are
indefinitely older and existed, well compacted, untold ages before the
more distinctly human attributes were developed. Indeed there are a
few faint indications of an earlier age node, at about the age of six,
as if amid the instabilities of health we could detect signs that this
may have been the age of puberty in remote ages of the past. I have
also given reasons that lead me to the conclusion that, despite its
dominance, the function of sexual maturity and procreative power is
peculiarly mobile up and down the age-line independently of many of
the qualities usually so closely associated with it, so that much that
sex created in the phylum now precedes it in the individual.

Rousseau would leave prepubescent years to nature and to these primal
hereditary impulsions and allow the fundamental traits of savagery
their fling till twelve. Biological psychology finds many and cogent
reasons to confirm this view _if only a proper environment could be
provided_. The child revels in savagery; and if its tribal, predatory,
hunting, fishing, fighting, roving, idle, playing proclivities could
be indulged in the country and under conditions that now, alas! seem
hopelessly ideal, they could conceivably be so organized and directed
as to be far more truly humanistic and liberal than all that the best
modern school can provide. Rudimentary organs of the soul, now
suppressed, perverted, or delayed, to crop out in menacing forms
later, would be developed in their season so that we should be immune
to them in maturer years, on the principle of the Aristotelian
catharsis for which I have tried to suggest a far broader application
than the Stagirite could see in his day.

These inborn and more or less savage instincts can and should be
allowed some scope. The deep and strong cravings in the individual for
those primitive experiences and occupations in which his ancestors
became skilful through the pressure of necessity should not be
ignored, but can and should be, at least partially, satisfied in a
vicarious way, by tales from literature, history, and tradition which
present the crude and primitive virtues of the heroes of the world's
childhood. In this way, aided by his vivid visual imagination, the
child may enter upon his heritage from the past, live out each stage
of life to its fullest and realize in himself all its manifold
tendencies. Echoes only of the vaster, richer life of the remote past
of the race they must remain, but just these are the murmurings of the
only muse that can save from the omnipresent dangers of precocity.
Thus we not only rescue from the danger of loss, but utilize for
further psychic growth the results of the higher heredity, which are
the most precious and potential things on earth. So, too, in our
urbanized hothouse life, that tends to ripen everything before its
time, we must teach nature, although the very phrase is ominous. But
we must not, in so doing, wean still more from, but perpetually incite
to visit, field, forest, hill, shore, the water, flowers, animals, the
true homes of childhood in this wild, undomesticated stage from which
modern conditions have kidnapped and transported him. Books and
reading are distasteful, for the very soul and body cry out for a more
active, objective life, and to know nature and man at first hand.
These two staples, stories and nature, by these informal methods of
the home and the environment, constitute fundamental education.

But now another remove from nature seems to be made necessary by the
manifold knowledges and skills of our highly complex civilization. We
should transplant the human sapling, I concede reluctantly, as early
as eight, but not before, to the schoolhouse with its imperfect
lighting, ventilation, temperature. We must shut out nature and open
books. The child must sit on unhygienic benches and work the tiny
muscles that wag the tongue and pen, and let all the others, which
constitute nearly half its weight, decay. Even if it be prematurely,
he must be subjected to special disciplines and be apprenticed to the
higher qualities of adulthood; for he is not only a product of nature,
but a candidate for a highly developed humanity. To many, if not most,
of the influences here there can be at first but little inner
response. Insight, understanding, interest, sentiment, are for the
most part only nascent; and most that pertains to the true kingdom of
mature manhood is embryonic. The wisest requirements seem to the child
more or less alien, arbitrary, heteronomous, artificial, falsetto.
There is much passivity, often active resistance and evasion, and
perhaps spasms of obstinacy, to it all. But the senses are keen and
alert, reactions immediate and vigorous; and the memory is quick, sure
and lasting; and ideas of space, time, and physical causation, and of
many a moral and social licit and non-licit, are rapidly unfolding.
Never again will there be such susceptibility to drill and discipline,
such plasticity to habituation, or such ready adjustment to new
conditions. It is the age of external and mechanical training.
Reading, writing, drawing, manual training, musical technic, foreign
tongues and their pronunciations, the manipulation of numbers and of
geometrical elements, and many kinds of skill have now their golden
hour; and if it passes unimproved, all these can never be acquired
later without a heavy handicap of disadvantage and loss. These
necessities may be hard for the health of body, sense, mind, as well
as for morals; and pedagogic art consists in breaking the child into
them betimes as intensely and as quickly as possible with minimal
strain and with the least amount of explanation or coquetting for
natural interest, and in calling medicine confectionery. This is not
teaching in its true sense so much as it is drill, inculcation, and
regimentation. The method should be mechanical, repetitive,
authoritative, dogmatic. The automatic powers are now at their very
apex, and they can do and bear more than our degenerate pedagogy knows
or dreams of. Here we have something to learn from the schoolmasters
of the past back to the middle ages, and even from the ancients. The
greatest stress, with short periods and few hours, incessant
insistence, incitement, and little reliance upon interest, reason or
work done without the presence of the teacher, should be the guiding
principles for pressure in these essentially formal and, to the child,
contentless elements of knowledge. These should be sharply
distinguished from the indigenous, evoking, and more truly educational
factors described in the last paragraph, which are meaty,
content-full, and relatively formless as to time of day, method,
spirit, and perhaps environment and personnel of teacher, and possibly
somewhat in season of the year, almost as sharply as work differs from
play, or perhaps as the virility of man that loves to command a
phalanx, be a martinet and drill-master, differs from femininity which
excels in persuasion, sympathetic insight, story-telling, and in the
tact that discerns and utilizes spontaneous interests in the young.

Adolescence is a new birth, for the higher and more completely human
traits are now born. The qualities of body and soul that now emerge
are far newer. The child comes from and harks back to a remoter past;
the adolescent is neo-atavistic, and in him the later acquisitions of
the race slowly become prepotent. Development is less gradual and more
saltatory, suggestive of some ancient period of storm and stress when
old moorings were broken and a higher level attained. The annual rate
of growth in height, weight, and strength is increased and often
doubled, and even more. Important functions, previously non-existent,
arise. Growth of parts and organs loses its former proportions, some
permanently and some for a season. Some of these are still growing in
old age and others are soon arrested and atrophy. The old measures of
dimensions become obsolete, and old harmonies are broken. The range of
individual differences and average errors in all physical measurements
and all psychic tests increases. Some linger long in the childish
stage and advance late or slowly, while others push on with a sudden
outburst of impulsion to early maturity. Bones and muscles lead all
other tissues, as if they vied with each other; and there is frequent
flabbiness or tension as one or the other leads. Nature arms youth for
conflict with all the resources at her command - speed, power of
shoulder, biceps, back, leg, jaw - strengthens and enlarges skull,
thorax, hips, makes man aggressive and prepares woman's frame for

* * * * *



Muscles as organs of the will, of character and even of thought - The
muscular virtues - Fundamental and accessory muscles and functions - The
development of the mind and of the upright position - Small
muscles as organs of thought - School lays too much stress upon
these - Chorea - vast numbers of automatic movements in children - Great
variety of spontaneous activities - Poise, control and spurtiness - Pen
and tongue wagging - Sedentary school life _vs_ free out-of-door
activities - Modern decay of muscles, especially in girls - Plasticity
of motor habits at puberty.

The muscles are by weight about forty-three per cent. of the average
adult male human body. They expend a large fraction of all the kinetic
energy of the adult body, which a recent estimate places as high as
one-fifth. The cortical centers for the voluntary muscles extend over
most of the lateral psychic zones of the brain, so that their culture
is brain building. In a sense they are organs of digestion, for which
function they play a very important rôle. Muscles are in a most
intimate and peculiar sense the organs of the will. They have built
all the roads, cities, and machines in the world, written all the
books, spoken all the words, and, in fact, done everything that man
has accomplished with matter. If they are undeveloped or grow relaxed
and flabby, the dreadful chasm between good intentions and their
execution is liable to appear and widen. Character might be in a sense
defined as a plexus of motor habits. To call conduct three-fourths of
life, with Matthew Arnold; to describe man as one-third intellect and
two-thirds will, with Schopenhauer; to urge that man is what he does
or that he is the sum of his movements, with F.W. Robertson; that
character is simply muscle habits, with Maudsley; that the age of art
is now slowly superseding the age of science, and that the artist will
drive out with the professor, with the anonymous author of "Rembrandt
als Erzicher";[1] that history is consciously willed movements, with
Bluntschli; or that we could form no conception of force or energy in
the world but for our own muscular effort; to hold that most thought
involves change of muscle tension as more or less integral to it - all
this shows how we have modified the antique Ciceronian conception
_vivere est cogitari_, [To live is to think] to _vivere est velle_,
[To live is to will] and gives us a new sense of the importance of
muscular development and regimen.[2]

Modern psychology thus sees in muscles organs of expression for all
efferent processes. Beyond all their demonstrable functions, every
change of attention and of psychic states generally plays upon them
unconsciously, modifying their tension in subtle ways so that they may
be called organs of thought and feeling as well as of will, in which
some now see the true Kantian thing-in-itself the real substance of
the world, in the anthropomorphism of force. Habits even determine the
deeper strata of belief; thought is repressed action; and deeds, not
words, are the language of complete men. The motor areas are closely
related and largely identical with the psychic, and muscle culture
develops brain-centers as nothing else yet demonstrably does. Muscles
are the vehicles of habituation, imitation, obedience, character, and
even of manners and customs. For the young, motor education is
cardinal, and is now coming to due recognition; and, for all,
education is incomplete without a motor side. Skill, endurance, and
perseverance may almost be called muscular virtues; and fatigue,
velleity, caprice, _ennui_, restlessness, lack of control and poise,
muscular faults.

To understand the momentous changes of motor functions that
characterize adolescence we must consider other than the measurable
aspects of the subject. Perhaps the best scale on which to measure all
normal growth of muscle structure and functions is found in the
progress from fundamental to accessory. The former designates the
muscles and movements of the trunk and large joints, neck, back, hips,
shoulders, knees, and elbows, sometimes called central, and which in
general man has in common with the higher and larger animals. Their
activities are few, mostly simultaneous, alternating and rhythmic, as
of the legs in walking, and predominate in hard-working men and women
with little culture or intelligence, and often in idiots. The latter
or accessory movements are those of the hand, tongue, face, and
articulatory organs, and these may be connected into a long and
greatly diversified series, as those used in writing, talking,
piano-playing. They are represented by smaller and more numerous
muscles, whose functions develop later in life and represent a higher
standpoint of evolution. These smaller muscles for finer movements
come into function later and are chiefly associated with psychic
activity, which plays upon them by incessantly changing their
tensions, if not causing actual movement. It is these that are so
liable to disorder in the many automatisms and choreic tics we see in
school children, especially if excited or fatigued. General paralysis
usually begins in the higher levels by breaking these down, so that
the first symptom of its insidious and never interrupted progress is
inability to execute the more exact and delicate movements of tongue
or hand, or both. Starting with the latest evolutionary level, it is a
devolution that may work downward till very many of the fundamental
activities are lost before death.

Nothing better illustrates this distinction than the difference
between the fore foot of animals and the human hand. The first begins
as a fin or paddle or is armed with a hoof, and is used solely for
locomotion. Some carnivora with claws use the fore limb also for
holding well as tearing, and others for digging. Arboreal life seems
to have almost created the simian hand and to have wrought a
revolution in the form and use of the forearm and its accessory
organs, the fingers. Apes and other tree-climbing creatures must not
only adjust their prehensile organ to a wide variety of distances and
sizes of branches, but must use the hands more or less freely for
picking, transporting, and eating fruit; and this has probably been a
prime factor in lifting man to the erect position, without which human

Online LibraryG. Stanley HallYouth: Its Education, Regimen, and Hygiene → online text (page 1 of 31)