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LARGE-GROUP CONSCIOUSNESS 137

without a country. This need of taking the point of view of
the participants on one side or the other is intuitively
recognized by the writers of our textbooks and by teachers
in their discussion. Its purpose must be seen and the method
made conscious, however, because of the demand often
voiced that historical presentation, on even the concrete
levels, be coldly scientific, and look at the actions of all sides
equally and without sympathy. Our apparently contrary
suggestion does not imply any deviation from exact his-
torical truth in the presentation. It is only to recognize the
principle of perspective; and the local and partial nature of
all active experience. The participants on one side in a bat-
tle, let us say, may see the whole action truly, from their
side, and yet have a different vision, different object-
ives and emotional experiences from those of their oppo-
nents. It is true, in entering sympathetically into the ex-
periences of one side and not that of both at the same
time, the experience is partial. But no method has yet
been found of entering into the experiences of both sides
at once.

As a matter of fact, if the reconstruction of the actual
experience of the participants in the action is to be vera-
cious, then it must be partial. The incomplete vision dis-
torted by perspective, the sympathies for the one side and
the antipathies for the other were just as much realities of
the period as the objective action. Their revelation must be
as adequate in the reconstructed experience or it will not
accurately reproduce the original conditions.

The preventive of exaggerated and intolerant nationalism
which might result from a disproportionate amount of
sympathetic experience upon the one side is not at bottom
to look with cold, impersonal scientific eye upon the nations ;
but rather at different times to relive the experiences as
presented from both points of view. That is to say, let stu-



V J

138 THE CURRICULUM

dents relive the experiences of the Revolutionary War as
accurately presented from the British point of view; im-
aginatively traveling and associating with the British armies
and unconsciously taking on its valuations and aspirations
and seeing everything from its side. This was just as much
a part of the actual experience of the times. Let the student
read the history of the Mexican War as a shadow-member of
the army of Santa Ana, and thus see the war through
Mexican eyes. This is just as true a view of it as the one
from the American side.

Not only can a sound nationalism be developed experi-
entially, but also the corrective to exaggeration can be ex-
perientially developed. And in the two processes the expe-
riential foundation is laid for a tolerant social consciousness
that is wider than the national; and which can look equally
and impersonally upon all sides.

Let the program of conflict, however, be no narrow one of
military wars alone. Let there be far fuller experience on the
part of youth in the Nation's economic struggle for the
world's markets. This is going on at the present time. It has
been going on these hundred years or more. Let youth read
a spirited history of our American merchant marine; of the
contest we have made in the markets of South America,
China, Russia, Australia, the Philippines, etc.; and of our
struggle to keep our home markets for our home producers
as against foreign competition. Let the present aspects of
this economic struggle be made to stand out clear by giving
full space to the last decade or two. Naturally the student's
participative experience in this economic struggle must come
later in the course than the military struggles.

The corrective to vision so as to prevent distorted social
perspective is to read also vivid accounts of British com-
merce from their point of view; of French commerce from
their angle of vision; of Japanese commerce, etc.



LARGE-GROUP CONSCIOUSNESS 139

A still larger program of experience should relate to the
large-group conflict involved in its control of powerful in-
ternal interests: railroad corporations, manufacturing,
mining, and commercial organizations, financial classes,
capitalist and labor groups, political spoilsmen, etc. Stu-
dents, perhaps on the high-school level, need to read, for
example, the history of railroad regulation. This should
reveal the self-seeking character in the past of those power-
ful organizations. It should present an extended story of
the concrete ways in which they have tried, often success-
fully, to over-reach the public; and of the fight made by the
public by way of resisting such powerful predatory attacks.
Like all the rest, this, too, should be no dull sociological
chronology and analysis, but a living reconstruction of
spirited group-conflict. And it needs to be seen with the
perspective of the large-group point of view. The purpose
being the development of the wider community conscious-
ness as opposed to that of the specialized group, this wider
consciousness that made the fight originally must be re-
constructed and reexperienced in the youthful fighter. He
will be thereby shaped for that continuing general commu-
nity consciousness that must continue the fight in whatever
form it may nowadays arise. Having thus fought the rail-
roads in the past, he thus takes on the racial experience, so
to speak, in the community handling of them.

"But the railroads perform indispensable services; and
they have rights proportioned to those services," one says.
"Therefore these matters should not be seen from just one
side." This is all very true. And in chapter X we presented
a part of the plan of training men to do full justice; namely,
reading a sympathetic presentation of the history of rail-
road development and labors written from their point of
view. Each type of account is then a corrective for the
special perspective of the other. In either case the student



140 THE CURRICULUM

is called upon to take sides. But not to take a side is not to
enter the action; and therefore not to have experience
neither large-group nor small-group. To attain the large-
group attitudes and valuations and understanding, he must
fight the large-group battle, from its point of view; and stren-
uously. But to correct the distortion of perspective, he must
at another time, in this vicarious way, also fight the small-
group battle against the large-group; and with the same vigor
and single-mindedness. The two sides are to be known, not
by sitting on the fence and disinterestedly observing both,
but by plunging in, first on one side and then on the other,
and learning each side by experiencing it.

The problem is closely analogous to that of visual per-
spective. As one looks out on the landscape his image is a
distortion. He sees near things large and clear and solid;
and far things small and dim and unreal. The corrective
is change of position. Let him go to the far things and re-
new his observations. He sees the things reversed. Observ-
ing from both points of view he arrives at true valuations as
to all the things. An omniscient eye might see all things
truly and without distortion from a single point of view. But
human eyes cannot. Man's view is always partial view, to
be corrected by change in the position from which he makes
observation. We do not say a painting is untrue because it
involves the visual illusion of perspective. Quite the reverse,
it is untrue when it neglects perspective.

In arguing that the partiality of actual experience shall ex-
ist in reconstructed educational experience, the ends in view
are justice and fairness and the balanced judgment. We
are to recognize that we are dealing with two forms of bias,
both inherently necessary, the maleficent results of which
are to be avoided by developing both in the same minds
in ways that permit each to correct the other. The experi-
ence also lays the foundation of concreteness needed for the



LARGE-GROUP CONSCIOUSNESS 141

problem-solving and scientific generalizations that involve
seeing all sides clearly and impartially. Only those who
have experienced all sides are provided with the materials
necessary for sound generalizations. This alone can bring
them into vital contacts with essential realities without
which problem-solving is impossible and generalizations but
empty verbalities. It gives them the substance and mate-
rials of thought before they are called upon to think.

Finally, there is another inspiring type of national con-
flict, namely, the ceaseless and ever-strenuous warfare with
the hostile or reluctant forces of Nature. This is a battle
that takes place mainly through the specialized activities of
occupational groups. But the national story can be written
so as to show these specialized groups as arms of the large
group. Many things also have been undertaken in a na-
tional way: lighthouse and life-saving service, national
forest service, the weather bureau, quarantine and health
service, the flood control, river navigation, the fight upon
noxious insects, etc. Let students read the full story of these
important national undertakings, and they are further ex-
perienced in taking the national point of view. And the
greater the width and intensity of this experience, the more
intense becomes their national-group consciousness.

Large-group municipal consciousness

In one's city, for example, the good citizen is one who
habitually looks to the general municipal good. He has a
municipal consciousness, so to speak, instead of a special
partisan one.

Now, education must use the same general formula for de-
veloping this type of mind. Participative_exBerience^ must
be the basisj^f it^all. Youth must act as a member of the
large~*municipal group. As "he sees its ends from the large-
group point of view, and helps in the fight against the oppos-



142 THE CURRICULUM

ing forces, he takes on the large-^gpjyDjJonsciousness and
understanding.

Our first question must naturally relate to the things that
a well-trained adult generation is supposed to be doing in
its municipal civic capacity. Youth's best civic education
(then must come from participation along with adults in these
Activities. In the following unclassified list we have pre-
sented a few of the matters for which the entire body of
citizens, old and young, adult and adolescent, are respon-
sible:

1. Keeping the city clean.

2. Making the city sanitary.

3. Making the city beautiful.

4. Care of the city's trees, shrubbery, and grass-plots.

5. Preventing the smoke evil.

6. Prevention of flies and mosquitoes.

7. Destruction of tree- and plant-destroying insects.

8. Care of insect-destroying birds.

9. Disposal of sewage, ashes, rubbish, etc.

10. Providing a clean and pure water-supply.

11. Providing suitable paving for all streets and alleys.

12. Cleaning and lighting all streets and alleys.

13. Providing for safe and rapid transportation about the city.

14. Regulating street traffic.

15. Providing play-opportunities for the children.

16. Providing adult recreational facilities.

17. Providing and maintaining a school plant.

18. Educating the children.

19. Providing for a sanitary milk-supply.

20. Seeing that all food production and distribution is sanitary.

21. Protecting the city from fire.

22. Protecting life and property.

23. Care of the incapacitated.

24. Regulation for the public weal of all public utility corpora-
tions, markets, factories, stores, trades, amusements agen-
cies, etc.

25. Getting these and all other like cooperative acth ities done
at a proper cost.



LARGE-GROUP CONSCIOUSNESS 143

26. Securing from each a proper character of service.

27. Currently inspecting the conditions of each type of service.

28. Currently inspecting the results obtained.

29. Currently seeing that justice is done each specialized group:
that it is supplied with all its needs, not more and not less.

30. Current inspection of municipal or general community needs
so as to keep service always adjusted to actual needs.

The list is not exhaustive. It intends only to present types
of cooperative tasks tfyat the civic community is, or ought
to be, currently performing. Some of the tasks are performed
by all citizens. Some are delegated to specialized individuals
and groups, the citizen's current duty being to supervise
the labors; to make and to keep them effective. In some of
the cases the citizen performs part, and he delegates part.

But whether he directly performs the functions or dele-
gates them, he has his community inspectorial function to
perform. It must be confessed that the technique of the
citizen's civic functions has not yet been well developed.
Citizens are actually doing all of the things mentioned; but
often doing them badly, because they have never been taught
or practiced in better ways. Much we hear nowadays con-
cerning the technical inefficiency of workmen; but the
technical inefficiency of the citizen in the performance of his
civic functions is immeasurably greater. The workman
knows what he is after, and has a good deal of technical
knowledge as to what to do, even though but rule-of -thumb.
But as a citizen, his ideas are very vague as to what he is
after; and technical knowledge as to what constitutes effi-
cient civic service and as to methods of holding his fellow
citizens and their agents responsible for efficient performance
is very small indeed.

Youth and adulthood need to act together in the per-
formance of these functions for the secure training of
youth. But the problem is greatly complicated for educa-



144 THE CURRICULUM

tion by the fact that adulthood is almost as much in need
of training as youth itself. Part-time activity is a super-
lative training device in the occupational world; we need an
exactly analogous training method, in the larger civic field.
But when we look about to find men acting together con-
sciously in performing their cooperative activities effectively
in ways in which youth may be permitted to mingle, except
for an occasional voting to-day, it is difficult to locate any-
thing but haphazard and miscellany. Men seem to have
got the impression, and women, too, that the primitive art
of voting unintelligently is the major function of the citizen.
Naturally it is not advisable to organize part-time activity
in voting unintelligently.

The National Education Association Committee on the
Teaching of Community Civics expresses clearly the need
of participative or part-time civic activity on the part of
youth. The committee writes:

/ The pupil as a young citizen is a real factor in community af-
/ fairs. His cooperation in many phases of community life is quite
/ as important as that of the adult. He may help in forming public
I opinion, not only among his mates, but in the home and in the
\ community at large.

Therefore it is a task of the teacher to cultivate in the pupil a
/ sense of his responsibility, present as well as future.

If a citizen has an interest in civic matters and a sense of his
personal responsibility, he will want to act.

Therefore the teacher must help the pupil to express his con-
victions in word and deed. He must be given an opportunity, as
far as possible, to live his civics both in the school and in- the com-
munity outside.

It will be necessary for school people among others to
take the lead in developing the technique and the practice
of civic performance in our cities and other local commu-
nities. Just as it has been our educational institutions that
have taken the lead in improving both the theory and the



LARGE-GROUP CONSCIOUSNESS 145

practice of agriculture and of many other occupations, so
must they also point, and in practice show, the way to civic
effectiveness. It is needed for the education of all the peo-
ple, adolescent and adult.

To begin with, citizens of a given city must know what
phey need. Do they need street paving that is twenty, forty,
or sixty feet wide? Or do they need one width in one portion
of the city and another width in another portion? And if
so, what widths, and where? Do they need one thousand
candle-power to the mile of street-lighting? or five thousand?
or twenty thousand? Should the city water system supply a
daily twenty-five gallons per capita? Or should it be one
hundred gallons, or three hundred gallons? In the play-
grounds furnished their children, should there be twenty
square feet per child, or fifty, or one hundred? In the city
health service, do they need twenty-five cents' worth each
year per capita, or a dollar's worth, or five dollars' worth?
In the maintenance of the fire department or the police
department, do they need the services of one man for each
five hundred people? or one for each one thousand, two
thousand, or five thousand people? If a large number is
needed, what are the reasons? If a small number, why is
the city so fortunate? Does the city need one high-school
teacher for each fifteen pupils, or each twenty-five, or each
thirty-five? How many food inspectors does the city need
per thousand places that require inspection? How many
school medical examiners and school nurses per thousand
pupils? For an effective performance of civic inspectorial
functions how many civic centers are needed for each ten
thousand population, and how many hours of regularly
scheduled community meetings are desirable? In the mat-
ter of public hospital facilities, does the city need one bed
per five hundred population? Or should it be one for each
thousand, or twenty-five hundred? A city cannot perform



146 THE CURRICULUM

any civic function effectively and economically until it
knows what it needs, and in definite terms.

Is it possible to find out what people need in these and all
the other things? It is easily possible to arrive at approx-
imations that can serve until more accurate standards are
available. Take the matter of the water-supply. The ac-
companying table shows the number of gallons per capita
used daily in a number of large cities in 1912.

Per capita daily use of water in certain cities of Europe and
America, 1912

No
gallons

Buffalo 310

Chicago 225

Pittsburgh 218

Philadelphia 208

Boston 130

Baltimore 115

St. Louis 107

Cleveland. 102

New York 100

Paris 63

Hamburg 42

London 40

Liverpool 38

Amsterdam 35

Copenhagen 27

Dresden 25

Berlin , 20

There is nothing for beginning this type of study that
is quite comparable in value to an array of facts. The table
does not show conclusively just the amount of water-supply
needed. But it gives one a few ideas to start with. All of



LARGE-GROUP CONSCIOUSNESS 147

these cities are reasonably clean and sanitary on the
basis of 1912 standards. But it will be noticed that New York
does as well on a hundred gallons per capita as Philadelphia
on two hundred, or Buffalo on three hundred. When one
notes that New York's figures are corroborated by those of
other large cities like Cleveland and St. Louis, it appears
at least probable that a hundred gallons per capita is enough
to meet human needs in large American cities, and that there
was large waste in the four cities at the top of the list.

After a city has determined the amounts of things needed,
the next question for the learning citizen, adult or adoles-
cent, is: What price should be paid?

To take a specific case from another field, What price per
thousand cubic feet should be paid for illuminating and
fuel gas in our cities? The following table presents one type
of facts needed:

Price to families of gas per 1000 cubic feet, 1912

Jacksonville $1 .25

Charleston, South Carolina 1 .20

Reading 1 . 10

Harrisburgh 1 . 10

Philadelphia 1.00

Omaha 1 .00

Buffalo 1.00

Rochester ' .95

Richmond 90

Washington 85

Pittsburgh 85

New York 80

Chicago 80

Boston 80

Cleveland 75

Duluth.. .75



148 THE CURRICULUM

Toledo 70

St. Louis 60

Milwaukee 60

Grand Rapids 50

Detroit 50

A civic group, juvenile or adult, with such a table before
them, will probably conclude that there is something that
needs looking into. Conditions in different cities are differ-
ent, and costs should be correspondingly different; but it is
highly improbable that conditions demand such variety of
prices as here exhibited. If Detroit is properly supplied,
and the price just, at fifty cents, why must Buffalo pay
twice as much? If sixty cents is correct for a city some-
what remote from the coal-supply like Milwaukee, why
must a city in the coal region like Reading pay almost twice
as much?

With such a table as a starting-point, those studying the
problem in each city will get such facts as the following for
their own city, and for each of the other cities that are
used for comparison :

1. The amount of investment in the plant per unit of gas de-
livered.

2. Interest, dividends, and taxes, paid per unit of output.

3. Cost of maintenance of the plant per unit of output.

4. Cost of operation per unit.

5. Percentage of cost returned from the by-products.

6. Price made to the large consumers.

7. Price made to the small consumers.

Some inkling can now be had of our meaning when we
said that educational people need to lead in the performance
of civic functions. In a representative democracy like ours
the major function of the people as citizens is the per-
formance of the inspectorial function. Most of their coop-
erative labors they will delegate t to specialized employees.



LARGE-GROUP CONSCIOUSNESS 149

But they can never delegate to anybody the function of ex-
amining the labors thus performed for them and pronounc-
ing final judgment as to whether satisfactory. This they
must do for themselves. But generally they have not the
facts. They do not know where or how to get them. And
not knowing the need of facts as the basis of all government,
they have not even asked for them; and do not yet greatly
appreciate their values, even when set before them. One
never knows the value of a thing till he has tried it.

Citizens need to have such arrays of facts set before them
in civic meetings, in bulletins, and in the public press.
Their agents who are responsible for the labors need thus
to render accounts of their stewardship. However presented
the matters need to be taken up in civic meetings for
discussion, comparison, explanation, justification, etc. Out
of such discussion, clarified and enlightened public opinion
grows; and this it is that lies at the basis of all effective
performance of the inspectorial function.

Adults at present are not much more capable of dis-
cussing many of these matters than the young people in
grammar grades and high school. They have less leisure for
the purpose. And they lack the trained and paid intellectual
and social leadership that is supplied the young people in
their teachers. But adults are just as much in need of sys-
tem, organization, and leadership for their thinking. Until
society has evolved a profession of inspectorial leadership,
now in the making, as revealed in our bureaus of muni-
cipal research, etc., this task falls naturally to the two
professions of education and journalism. And in large part
at least, perhaps chiefly, it must always remain with them.

Now, in ways which we shall explain more fully as we pro-
ceed, it is possible for teachers to interest the young people
in these civic problems; to use them as fact-gatherers and
fact-organizers for the total community; and to have them



150 THE CURRICULUM

present the facts in the community meetings made up of
both adults and young people. These students can search the
reports of their own and other cities and draw up the tables
of comparative and other facts. They can prepare charts,
maps, diagrams, exhibits, etc., that will reveal a wide range
of well-organized facts for the topic under discussion. They
can make systematic surveys of their own town by way of
bringing a wealth of concrete facts to the discussion. They
can make surveys of sanitary conditions, street-cleaning,
street-paving, garbage disposal, breeding-places of flies, the
city's trees, billboards, smoke, fire protection, distribu-
tion of police over the city, distribution of public recreational
opportunities, the milk-supply, water-supply, etc.

In connection with such surveys no finer practical task
can be devised than the making of survey maps each one
carrying its information and its lesson to the public-spirited
citizen. They can make health maps, recreation maps,
street-paving maps, street-cleaning maps, street-lighting
maps, crime maps, tree maps, maps showing breeding-places


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Online LibraryJohn Franklin BobbittThe curriculum → online text (page 11 of 22)