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FHE CURRICULUM



BY

FRANKLIN BOBBITT

Professor of Educational Administration
The University of Chicago




HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY

BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO

Cambridge



COPYRIGHT, 1918, BY FRANKLIN BODBITT
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



CAMBRIDGE . MASSACHUSETTS
U . S . A



PREFACE

SINCE the opening of the twentieth century, the evolu-
tion of our social order has been proceeding with great and
ever-accelerating rapidity, Simple conditions have been
growing complex. Small institutions have been growing
large. Increased specialization has been multiplying human
interdependences and the consequent need of coordinating
effort. Democracy is increasing within the Nation; and
growing throughout the world. All classes are aspiring to a
full human opportunity. Never before have civilization and
humanization advanced so swiftly.

As the world presses eagerly forward toward the accom-
plishment of new things, education also must advance no less
swiftly. It must provide the intelligence and the aspirations
necessary for the advance; and for stability and consistency
in holding the gains. Education must take a pace set, not by
itself, but by social progress.

The present program of public education was mainly for-
mulated during the simpler conditions of the nineteenth cen-
tury. In details it has been improved. In fundamentals it is
not greatly different. A program never designed for the
present day has been inherited.

Any inherited system, good for its time, when held to,
after its day, hampers social progress. It is not enough that
the system, fundamentally unchanged in plan and purpose,
be improved in details. In education this has been done in
conspicuous degree. Our schools to-day are better than ever
before. Teachers are better trained. Supervision is more ade-
quate. Buildings and equipment are enormously improved.
Effective methods are being introduced, and time is being



iv PREFACE

economized. Improvements are visible on every hand. And
yet to do the nineteenth-century task better than it was then
done is not necessarily to do the twentieth-century task.

New duties lie before us. And these require new methods,
new materials, new vision. The old education, except as it
conferred the tools of knowledge, was mainly devoted to
filling the memory with facts. The new age is more in need
of facts than the old; and of more facts; and it must find
more effective methods of teaching them. But there are
now other functions. Education is now to develop a typeN

!of wisdom that can grow only out of participation in the/
living experiences of men, and never out of mere memoriza-/
, tion of verbal statements of facts. It must, therefore.4rjim
thought and judgment in connection with actual life-
situations, a task distinctly different from the cloistral ac-
tivities of the past. It is also to develop the good-will, the
spirit of service, the social valuations, sympathies, and atti-
tudes of mind necessary for effective group-action where
specialization has created endless interdependency. It has
the function of training every citizen, man or woman, not
for knowledge about citizenship, but for proficiency in
citizenship; not for knowledge about hygiene, but for pro-
ficiency in maintaining robust health; not for a mere knowl-
edge of abstract science, but for proficiency in the use of
ideas in the control of practical situations. Most of these
are new tasks. In connection with each, much is now be-
ing done in all progressive school systems; but most of
them yet are but partially developed. We have been de-
veloping knowledge, not function; the power to reproduce
facts, rather than the powers to think and feel and will and
act in vital relation to the world's Me. Now we must look to
these latter things as well.

Our task in this volume is to point out some of the new
duties. We are to show why education must now under-



PREFACE v

take tasks that until recently were not considered needful;
why new methods, new materials, and new types of experi-
ence must be employed. We here try to develop a point of
view that seems to be needed by practical school men and
women as they make the educational adjustments now de-
manded by social conditions; and needed also by scientific
workers who are seeking to define with accuracy the ob-
jectives of education. It is the feeling of the writer that in
the social reconstructions of the post-war years that lie
just ahead of us, education is to be called upon to War a
hitherto undreamed-of burden of responsibility; and t*
undertake unaccustomed labors. To present some of the
theory needed for the curriculum labors of this new age
has been the task herein attempted.

This is a first book in a field that until recently has been
too little cultivated. For a long time, we have been develop-
ing the theory of educational method, both general and
special; and we have required teachers and supervisors to
be thoroughly cognizant of it. Recently, however, we have
discerned that there is a theory of curriculum-formulation
that is no less extensive and involved than that of method;
and that it is just as much needed by teachers and super-
visors. To know what to do is as important as to know how
to do it. This volume, therefore, is designed for teacher-
training institutions as an introductory textbook in the
theory of the curriculum; and for reading circles in the train-
ing of teachers in service. It is hoped also that it may
assist the general reader who is interested in noting recent
educational tendencies.



CONTENTS

PART I. ENDS AND PROCESSES

I. Two LEVELS OF EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE . . 3

II. EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE UPON THE PLAY-LEVEL . 8

HI. EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE UPON THE WORK-LEVEL 18

IV. THE PLACE OF IDEAS IN WORK-EXPERIENCE . . 26

J V. WHERE EDUCATION CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED ... 34

*-^ VI. SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN CURRICULUM-MAKING . . 41

PART II. TRAINING FOR OCCUPATIONAL EFFICIENCY

VII. PURPOSES OF VOCATIONAL TRAINING .... 55

VIII. SPECIALIZED TECHNICAL TRAINING 71

IX. THE SPECIALIZED TRAINING OF GROUP- WORKERS . 76

X. SOCIAL ASPECTS OF OCCUPATIONAL TRAINING . . 87

*

PART in. EDUCATION FOR CITIZENSHIP

XL THE NATURE OF THE GOOD CITIZEN .... 117

XII. THE DEVELOPMENT OF ENLIGHTENED LARGE-GROUP

CONSCIOUSNESS 131

XIII. MORAL AND RELIGIOUS EDUCATION 163

PART IV. EDUCATION FOR PHYSICAL EFFICIENCY

XIV. THE FUNDAMENTAL TASK OF PHYSICAL TRAINING . 171
XV. PHYSICAL TRAINING . . 180

XVI. THE SOCIAL FACTORS OF PHYSICAL EFFICIENCY . . 189



viii CONTENTS (

<^

PART V. EDUCATION FOR LEISURE OCCUPATIONS

XVIE. THE FUNCTION OF PLAY IN HUMAN LIFE . . . 207
XVHL READING AS A LEISURE OCCUPATION .... 227

PART VI. EDUCATION FOR SOCIAL
INTERCOMMUNICATION

XIX. THE MOTHER-TONGUE 247

J XX. TRAINING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGES 255

XXI. SOME CONCLUDING CONSIDERATIONS .... 282

INDEX ...."... .291



THE CURRICULUM

PART I
ENDS AND PROCESSES



THE CUERICULUM

CHAPTER I

TWO LEVELS OF EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE

CURRENT discussion of education reveals the presence in
the field of two antagonistic schools of educational thought.
On the one hand are those who look primarily to the sub-
jective results : the enriched mind, quickened appreciations,
refined sensibilities, discipline, culture. To them the end
of education is the ability to live rather than the practical \s
ability to produce. For them most of education is to be mo-
tivated by interest in the educational experiences themselves, -
without particular solicitude at the moment as to the prac-
tical use or uselessness of those experiences. If they expand
and unfold the potential nature of the individual, therein^
lies their justification. The full unfoldment of one's powers
is the primordial preparation for practical life.

On the other hand there are those who hold that educa-
tion is to look primarily and consciously to efficient prac-
tical action in a practical world. i.The individual is edu-
cated who can perform efficiently the labors of his calling;
ldio can effectively cooperate with his fellows in social and
civic affairs jwho can keep his bodily powers at a high level
of efficiency^yho is prepared to participate in proper range
of desirable leisure occupations ;who can effectively bring
his children to full-orbed manhood and womanhood J^and
who can carry on all his social relations with his fellows in
an agreeable and effective manner. Education is consciously
to prepare for these things.



4 TH CURRICULUM

The controversy involves practically eve'fcjr field of train-
ing. For example, the advocates of culture would have
science studied because it is a rich and vitalizing field of hu-
man thought. They would have the student live abundantly
within the wide fields of his chemistry or biology or physics
without at the time any great regard for the practical use or
uselessness of the particular facts met with. If the experience
is vivifying, if it satisfies intellectual cravings, therein is to
be found its sufficient excuse. They assume that enough of
the scientific facts, principles, and habits of mind acquired
will be of use afterwards to justify the teaching from a purely
utilitarian point of view. In fact, they assert that these things
can be better mastered when studied as "science for science*
sake " than when narrowed down to practical science for the
work's sake.

The utilitarians, on the other hand, would have science
studied in order that the facts may be put to work by farm-
ers in their farming, by mechanics in their shops, and va-
riously in the fields of manufacturing, mining, choking, san-
itation, etc. They would have an accurate survey made of '
the science-needs of each social class; and to each they would
teach only the facts needed; only those that are to be put
to work. In an age of efficiency and economy they would
seek definitely to eliminate the useless and the wasteful.
To cover the broad fields of the sciences without regard to
the functioning value of the particular facts is a blunder-
buss method in an age that demands the accuracy of the
rifle. It is to waste time and energy and money that are
needed elsewhere. It is to force upon unwilling students
things that can be justified upon no practical grounds.

A social study like history or literature the culture-advo-
cates conceive to be chiefly a means of lifting the curtain
upon human experience in all lands and ages. It gives the
pupil an opportunity to view and to mingle vicariously in



TWO LEVELS OF EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE 5

the age-long va^ted pageant of world-wide human life. The
pupil's busing is simply to look upon this pageant as he
would view a play at the theater. The experience is in itself
a satisfying mode of living, enriching his consciousness, ex-
panding the fields of his imagination, refining his apprecia-
tions. When in his reading he beholds the "glory that was
Greece and the splendour that was Rome," the epics of
Homer or the dramas of Shakespeare, he need not concern
himself with the application of that experience in the per- /
formance of his practical duties. On the other hand, the
utilitarians tell us that we would better eliminate ancient
history and the older literatures. These deal with a world
that is dead, a civilization that is mouldered, with govern-
ments that are now obsolete, with manners and customs and
languages that are altogether impracticable in this modern
age. In their judgment, in so far as we need history at all, it
should be modern history drawn for the purpose of throwing
light upon current practical problems of industry, commerce,
and citizenship. The facts should be gathered in definite re-
lation to the problems and not be mere blunderbuss history
that aims at nothing in particular. And as for literature, they
say, it would best be that which reveals the world of to-day :
the present natures of men and women; present-day social
problems and human reactions; current modes of thought;
existing conditions in the fields of commerce, industry,
sanitation, civic relationships, and recreational life; not
classics, but current literature.

The controversy is particularly marked in the matter of
foreign languages. Ancient languages do not function in
the lives of men, say the utilitarians : therefore they should
be cast out. For the vast majority, even the modern lan-
guages do not function. What does not appear in the lives
of the people has no reason to appear in the education of the
people. The argument is plausible, convincing; and yet the



6 THE CURRICULUM

foreign-language advocate is not convinced. He asserts
that important matters are lost sight of; that there are more
things in human life than practical action, however efficient;
that living itself is worth while ; that it is the end of education ;

^ and that the various utilities are but to provide the means.
r rfie looks to a self-realization, to a humanism, to a world of

I satisfactions that lie above and beyond the mere means to
be used in attaining those high ends. He accuses our prac-

/ tical age of aiming at a life for man that is too narrow,

\ barren, mechanical, materialistic.

" Now, which side is right? Doubtless both are right. It is
like asking the question, "Which shall the tree produce, the
flower or the fruit? " It must produce both or it will not
perform its full function. We have here simply to do with
two levels of functioning, two levels of educational expe-
riences, both of which are essential to fullness of growth,
efficiency of action, and completeness of character. Both are
good, both are necessary; one precedes the other. One is ex-
perience upon the play-level : the other experience upon the
work-level. One is action driven by spontaneous interest:
the other, by derived interest. One is the luxuriation of the
subjective life which has a value for objective experience
even though one be not conscious of the values at the time.
The other looks to the conscious shaping and control of the
objective world; but requires for maximum effectiveness the
background of subjective life provided by the other;

The culture-people are not wrong in demanding an edu-
cation that looks to the widening of vision, the deepening
of the general understanding, the actualizing of one's poten-
tial powers, the full-orbed expansion and maintenance of
the personality, the harnessing-up of native interests, the
development of enthusiasms and ideals; or briefly, the full
humanization of the individual. They cannot too miich
insist.



TWO LEVELS OF EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE 7

The practical-minded people are not wrong in affirming
that man's life consists, and must consist, largely in the
performance of responsible duties; that these are to be ca-
pably performed; that responsibilities are to be efficiently
absolved; that there is need of technical accuracy, depend-
ableness, industry, persistence, right habits, skill, practical
knowledge, physical and moral fiber, and adherence to duty
whether it be pleasant or painful; and that these results are
not to be sufficiently achieved without education of the
practical work-type. Upon these things they cannot too
much insist.



CHAPTER II

EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE UPON THE PLAY-LEVEL

RECENT psychology tells us that man has a long period of

childhood and youth in order that he may play. He plays,

not because he is young, but he is long young in order that

he may play; and thus through active experience secure his

, education. Play is Nature's active mode of education.

Shall a boy unfold his physical powers so that he can
run with speed and endurance, or throw accurately or fight
with strength and skill, or exert himself long hours without
undue fatigue? Nature provides that in his play he shall run
and throw and fight and otherwise exert himself; and thus
make actual his potential powers. PJiysical play is Nature's*'
physical education. Shall the boy develop the social abilities
necessary for full cooperation with the members of his social
group? Nature provides instinctive tendency to participate
in group-plays, social games, conversation, etc., which de-
velop his social nature, fix his social habits, and cement so-
cial solidarity. Social play is Nature's active method of /"
social education. Shall the boy possess an unspecialized
mechanical ability of a type that is even more needful to-
day than in the age when man's nature was shaped? Fortu-
nately, here again we find the strong' constructive and oper-
ative play-instincts which drive boys to make and operate
things. Give a normal-minded boy a rich opportunity to
make things and to "make them go," and one has then
only to leave him alone with his opportunity. Nature's
method of education will do the rest. Shall he be observant
of men and affairs about him? Shall he fill his mind concern-
ing the things with which he is to be concerned throughout



THE PLAY-LEVEL 9

life? Shall he acquire and maintain masses of knowledge
through the possession of an inquiring disposition? Again
Nature has provided the deep-lying and powerful mental-
playinstinct of curiosity, *h* int.pllfwf.nal appetite, the desire
to know. The boy is made watchful of everything that
goes on about him, especially the actions of men. Thus he
learns and thus he continues to learn throughout life.
Mental play is Nature's active method of filling the mind
with information.

of



let us first take up this topic of mental play as the basis of *'
intellectual education. One observes men and their affairs,
the things of one's environment, and the natural phenomena
by which one is surrounded, simply as a mode of living.
Through such observation he is continuously gathering facts
through all of his waking liours; and without question as to
the use or uselessness of the information. He makes no
attempt to observe merely the things that can be of practical
service in his personal affairs. He lives most fully who keeps v i
himself awake to everything before him and who sees all
in due relation and proportion even though most of it has I
no visible relation to his practical affairs.

Not only does he observe directly, but he listens with
consuming interest to the stories of things which he has
not seen. Most of the gossip of the daily papers relates to
things with which, he has no immediate concern. And yet
he reads and learns, and feels that if he does not do so he
does not fully live. The avidity with which he absorbs the
news or the eager curiosity with which gossips delve into
the affairs of the neighborhood show the universality and
the intensity of this hunger after knowledge, even of useless
type. One drinks endlessly at this fountain without ever
so much as raising the question whether the knowledge so
obtained is or can ever be of any use. Like breathing, one



10 THE CURRICULUM

feels it to be a natural portion of living which requires no
justification.

Learning things because of curiosity without reference to
the use of that knowledge is really one of the largest normal
activities of man. Knowledge-getting because of curiosity
is analogous to food-getting because of hunger. One wants
the food when hungry whether he knows anything about
its functional value or not. The hunger is Nature's way of/
ascribing value to things that the man needs. Equally, the
healthy mind wants to know the things that appeal to the
mental appetite without care at the time as to their prac-
tical application. /This knowledge-hunger is Nature's
method of ascribing value to the things that the man needs
when he is too immature or too stupid to know what he
i needs. Such strong and continuing instincts impel only to
1 things that are on the whole useful and necessary.

It is play; but it has its values. Although most things
observed have no visible relation to his immediate affairs,
yet everything in the community is related to everything
else in subtle, intangible, and usually unknown ways. Each
individual is the center of a vortex of influences. He needs
an understanding of the total life of the community in order
that he may adjust his actions to the factors of the situation
as a whole. His current information concerning appar-
ently useless things really gives him fullness of vision of the
total pageant of community life of which he forms a part.
, This fullness of vision is necessary for understanding; for
valuations; and right social attitudes.

While traveling to my work in the Orient, some years ago,
I had occasion to observe a portion of the educational ex-
periences of two boys about twelve years of age. The ship
on which we were traveling stopped for a day or two at each
of a number of ports: Hongkong, Shanghai, Nagasaki, Kobe,
Yokohama, etc. Scarcely had the ship come to anchor when



THE PLAY-LEVEL 11

the boys were off and away on an exploring expedition. For
them it was a region strange and new. There was no assign-
ment of anything for them to learn; they were not sent;
they were not going ashore to get information so that they
might recite upon it at night; it was not a thing upon which
they were later to be examined. Simply a rich field of experi-
ence opened before them and they eagerly embraced their
opportunities and went forth to partake to the full. It was
simply play-experience resulting from their intellectual
hungers. During the day they visited as many different
portions of the city as their time and their means of loco-
motion would permit. They looked into the residences of
rich and poor, into the shops, amusement places, religious
temples, soldiers' barracks, streets and alleys, the condi-
tions of life among the well-to-do and among the poor, etc.
They came back to the ship at night with rich stores of
experience and full to overflowing with information. It
required no effort on the part of the adult members of their
party to secure extended and enthusiastic verbal reports.
boys-were living. They



facts. It was all upon the play-level; and yet they were se-
curing the best possible type of education. Had it been made
a work-task for them with definite program and time allot-
ments, with reports that had to be put up in specified form
and with examinations to see that nothing had been over-
looked, would they have left the ship? And in what mood?
This experience of the two boys seems to indicate the kind
of intellectual play-experience needed throughout the fields
of education. In the same way, impelled only^by curiosity J
and the play-motive, following the leadings of interest, '
children and youth should, it appears, wander through
every important field of human knowledge and human
experience. Without any particular consciousness of the se-
rious values or purposes of the learning, they should thus



12 THE CURRICULUM

lay a wide and secure foundation of understanding of all
important aspects of reality. So far as possible, this should
be by observation. But one's horizon is narrow, and most
of this world lies beyond, and stretches backward through
history. Most is to be explored vicariously in imagination
on the basis of the reports of others. For this, pupils need/
books that vividly reconstruct the experiences of others.

There is a great wealth of geographical readings, espe-
cially travels, which present a vivid reconstruction of life in
other lands. As children travel, for example, in their read-
ings with Peary to the North Pole, or with Amundsen and
Scott to the South Pole, their experiences will bring them
to appreciate the nature of the polar regions almost as clearly
as if they had been there in the flesh. Let them travel in
spirit with Livingstone and Stanley and Roosevelt into the
heart of Africa and they will have an appreciation of the
nature of Central Africa that they can obtain in no other
way. Let them travel with Captain Cook and Darwin and
Stevenson through the South Seas, with Dana in his voyage
around the "Horn," with Tyndall and Jordan in the Alps,
with John Muir and Enos Mills in the Rockies, with George
Kennan in Siberia, etc., let them thus travel vicariously
through the various lands and regions of the earth, and they
will come to have a full appreciation of the nature of the
world. In the reading of literature with geographical back-
ground like Captains Courageous, Heidi, Kim, The Iron
Trail, The Lumberman, etc., children are permitted further
to relive the lives of peoples in various lands and under
various conditions; and thus through living acquire under-
standing. These geographical readings should aim, not at
information, but at experience. Like the two boys roaming
through the cities merely as a mode of living, the children


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Online LibraryJohn Franklin BobbittThe curriculum → online text (page 1 of 22)