Joseph Baldwin.

Psychology applied to the art of teaching online

. (page 21 of 28)
Online LibraryJoseph BaldwinPsychology applied to the art of teaching → online text (page 21 of 28)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

speare and Dickens and MacDonald, are rich ethical
treasures. Young people need to constantly drink at
these pure fountains.

5. Pure and wise associates are indispensahle. A
generous and confiding youth is easily led by those he
loves. Probably four out of five who go to the bad
are misled by vicious associates. " Evil associates cor-
rupt good morals." On the other hand, good and
wise associates do most to educate conscience and lead
their companions in paths of duty.

6. Punishment is a moral necessity. Its purpose
is to lead the wayward back to the path of duty and
keep them in it. " The way of the transgressor is
hard." All offenses call for punishment. When we
violate hygienic laws we suffer. When the child vio-
lates home laws it is punished. When we do wrong we
suffer remorse and are punished by the disapproval of
loved ones. The parent and the teacher and the State
and God visit on the transgressor the suffering neces-
sary to reformation. We punish in love, in order to get
the transgressor right and keep him right.

An approving conscience is the smile of God ; remorse His frown.

YII. Mistakes in educating Conscience.

A world full of degraded human beings is the re-
sult of failures in moral education. The millions would

ing Father, hut as the infinite and eternal energy. He holds that the abso-
lute is not personal.


be better men and women but for the deplorable mis-
takes in the most important field of human culture. A
good man or woman is the noblest work of God, and a
bad man or woman is the most deplorable work of

1. Neglect of moral culture. The murderous plea,
" I am not my brother's keeper," suffers the masses to
drift in the ways of folly and sin. Then, parents and
teachers and preachers and friends do not always with
untiring purpose inculcate duty.

2. Failure to remove sources of corruption. States
wisely quarantine against deadly epidemics. Saloons,
houses of infamy, gambling-dens, and " variety " the-
atres corrupt our youth and breed moral pestilence.
I^ot to suppress these sources of corruption is a griev-
ous blunder. These immoral pest-houses should be
closed to youth.

3. Precept without training. Only doing right edu-
cates conscience. l!^o amount of precept will save. The
great mistake everywhere is the failure to carry pre-
cept over into practice. Moral lectures and moral ser-
mons are good, but they become effective only when
they become ethical emotions and ethical acts. Planting
the corn is well, but cultivation is better. In moral
education, example and training must accompany and
supplement precept. The golden moral chain is made
up of right ideas, right examples, and right training.

4. Failure to control our thoughts. It is true that
the current of our thoughts deeply affects our conduct
and character. It is equally true that this current is
largely under our control. We can make the stream
of thought clear and wholesome, as we can make it


muddy and impure. When we think on the true, the
honorable, the just, the pure, the lovely, the reputable,
our ethical emotions become imperative.



I. Helpful Books. — We are rich in choice works helpful in ethical
culture. It seems unfit to mention two or three out of so many.
Comegy's Primer of Ethics, Robinson's Principles and Practice of
Ethics, Hopkins's Law of Love, Cook's Conscience, Rosenkranz's
Philosophy of Education, Rowland's Practical Hints for Teachers.
Dunton's Moral Education, and Everett's Ethics for Young People,
are admirable works. Our literature abounds in good ethical works.

II. Letter on Conscience-Culture. — Lead your friend to realize the
nature of moral education. Go into details, and show just how you
would promote the growth of conscience. Send a copy of your let-
ter to some journal for publication. Such productions will prove
valuable. What you find helpful may help others.

IIL Conscience in the Mental Economy. — What do you mean by
conscience ? Is conscience a cognitive or an emotional power ? Com-
pare conscience and gravity. Show the relations of intellect and
conscience. Prove that the duty-idea is intuitive. Show that moral
judgments are products of intellect. Does conscience impel us to
investigate in order to find out duty ? Show the relations of con-
science and the appetites ; the self-emotions ; the will. Is conscience
a moral guide ? In what sense is conscience infallible ? What do
you mean by the education of conscience? by a weak conscience?
by a strong conscience ? What distinction do you make between
conscience and the ethical emotions I

IV. Necessity for Moral Culture. — Why must conscience be edu-
cated ? Prove that conscience-culture tends to a superior manhood.
How does conscience-culture give self-control ? Prove that moral
education leads to happiness. Is an immoral life worth living?

V. Growth of Conscience. — Why has the brute no regard for
moral law ? How early does the child gain the duty-idea and feel
duty-emotions? Explain what you mean by a feeble conscience.


Do many persons remain ethical infants all their lives ? Trace the
growth of conscience from infancy to manhood. Explain the mean-
ing of the expressions good conscience and had conscience. Are these
expressions misleading?

VI. Laws of Conscience-Culture.— State in ethical terms the law
of effort ; law of means ; law of methods ; law of habit. Prove that
acting unconscientiously enfeebles conscience. Does conscience se-
riously trouble great criminals?

VII. Means of Conscience-Culture. — Give your reasons for put-
ting the family first. What do you think of good companionship I
of good literature ? of congenial occupation ? of the Sunday-school
and church ? of the Bible ? What does Huxley say about the Bible ?

VIII. Methods of educating Conscience. — What is conscience?
How do we educate conscience ? How will you develop duty-ideas ?
Why must duty-lessons for children be objective ? Why must duty
be made lovely ? How will you train children to the habit of doing
right? How are grand moral men and women made? Why should
duty-lessons be practical ? How will you lead your pupils to respect
and obey law? Why should right doing be rooted into habit ? How
will you foster a taste for ethical literature? Show that self-control
is better than kingdoms. Why should conscience dominate? Give
your reasons for making ethical studies prominent. Do duty-ideas
tend to duty-acts? What do you consider the primary office of
punishments ?

IX. Mistakes in the Education of Conscience. — Why is it that we
have a world full of degraded human beings ? Do you think the
moral education of the race is possible ? Why do we so neglect
ethical culture I Prove that prohibition helps. Show that example
and training are as necessary as precept. State your own experience
in promoting character-growth.



CHAPTER XXIII.— The Will-Powers.

XXIV. — Education of Attention, or Self-Con-
XXV. — Education of Choice, or Self-Deter-

XXVI. — Education of Executive Volition or

XXVn. —Culture op the Will-Powers.


The Intellect. ■{ Representation.

The Will.

^ Thought.

The Feelings. .




C Sense-perception.

•< Self-perception.

( Necessary-perception.

( Memory.

< Phantasy.

( Imagination.

( Conception.

< Judgment.
( Reason.

( General sensations.
l Special sensations.

i Self-emotions.
■N Social-emotions.
( Cosmic-emotions.

j Attracted.
( Voluntary.

Choice, or Self-determination.


r Reflex.
J Instinctive.
I Impulsive.

A mind is a unit. Its activities can not be separated by fixed
lines. While the soul's various capabilities may be studied separately,
they can not be thought of as acting separately. The fact of the
interaction of our various powers is fundamental in educational as
in mental science. Milton taught that " in the soul are many lesser
faculties that serve reason as chief." But a faculty must not be
thought of as an entity ; self is the entity, and his faculties are his
capabilities to do acts different in kind. Nor must the faculties be
thought of as acquired facilities ; education develops but does not
create faculties. We must think of the faculties as the native ener-
gies of self. Each self is endowed with native energies to know
and feel and will. The capabilities of self to do acts distinct in kind
are called his activities, his powers, his faculties. But no mental act is
simple. Each act of self is an act of the entire self. The dominat-
ing activity characterizes and denominates the act ; as, when reason
is the dominant activity, we say the act is an act of self as reason.





These are our effort-making capabilities. Self as
intellect knows something ; self as emotion feels some-
how ; and self as will makes some intentional effort. All
mentality is knowing, feeling, and willing. Take away
from our mental lives knowing and feeling, and the
residue is willing. Will enters into each mental act.^
Analyze any of your acts : you find that attention con- '
ditions knowing ; that ideas occasion emotions ; that
ideas and emotion occasion choices; and that choices
occasion actions. Intention, purpose, liberty, character-
ize will, but will is simply self willing, and may be de-
fined as the native energy of self to make intentional

Will is not to be conceived as an activity in itself. As a concrete
reality, will is active intelligence stimulated by emotion, or active
emotion directed by intelligence. Will must have material to work
upon — an object to be willed ; and such material can be obtained
only from intelligence and emotion. All education, in a sense, is
education of will. The education of intelligence is an exertion of
will in directing intelligence to particular objects; the education
of emotion is an exertion of will for the suppression of feelings that


are inimical, and the stimulation of those that are favorable to the
well-being of man.*

Will is to be conceived of as a capability of a self to put forth in-
tentional effort. Each one is aware that he purposely concentrates
his efforts, prefers one thing to another, and intentionally executes
his purposes. This is mind in liberty ; this is will. As we voluntarily
attend, and choose, and act, will is to be thought of as standing for
the powers of attention, choice, and action.

I. The Will-Powers. — We usually think of will as
our power of self-determination, because choice is pre-
eminent in willing. But in order to know or feel or
do, we must concentrate our efforts — must attend. In
order that we may achieve, we must execute — must act.
We thus see that self puts forth voluntary effort in
three distinct ways : in attending, in choosing, and in
acting. Practically, attention^ choice^ and action are
now generally recognized as our will-powers. The
educator thinks of the learner as a self who can attend,

choose, and act, as well as know and feel. This insight
is of great value. Will stands for attention^ choice^ and
action. It ceases to be the vague, mysterious, meta-
physical thing that has wrought such confusion.

II. Attention is the Power of Self to focalize his
Efforts. — It is " the self-governing intelhgence applying
itseK to what it wills."

" Attention is the actual self-direction of the mind to any object
external or internal." " The activity of the soul which effects the

* J. Clark Murray.


concentrating and focusing of its efforts is called attention." " At-
tention is the concentration of the activities of the mind by the
power of the will." " The greater or less energy in the operation of
knowing is called attention." " The essential achievement of the
will is to attend to a difficult object, and hold it fast before the
mind." " Effort of attention is the essential phenomenon of will."
'* In attention we find the first exhibition of will ; it is the beginning
of all control over the mental life, and may be defined as the power
to voluntarily concentrate mental effort." " Attention is an act of
will, and may be defined as the power of concentrated voluntary
effort." " Attention is the power of command over our thoughts,
and thus over our feelings." " Attention is the power to concentrate
effort, and fix the mind persistently on an object or group of objects*
and to resolutely exclude from the mental view all irrelevant objects."
Such, substantially, is the teaching of all psychologists. Attention
is a will-power, just as perception is an intellectual power.

1. Attention is voluntary concentration of effort,
I purposely exclude other themes aud ^x my mind on
this topic. I do this intentionally, as it is my wish
to grasp the wonderful truth that " self attends volun-
tarily.''^ We speak of attracted attention, and some-
times call this nonvoluntary attention or reflex atten-
tion. Thus, an unexpected sound or touch or sight
attracts our attention. Insistent ideas also attract our
attention, and are sometimes hard to banish. Persons
with little will-power drift, having their attention drawn
hither and thither. But attention proper is always
voluntary. Many things may conspire to divert my
attention, but I resolutely exclude them, and keep my
mind fixed on the subject in hand. Wlien we think
and speak of attention we mean voluntary attention.
Culture converts the attracted attention of the child
into the purposed attention of the youth. Education
makes attention completely voluntary.


2. Attention enables tis to master difficulties in
detail. " Attention is an act of will. The mind is
directed to certain objects before it. When these are
numerous, they appear dim and indefinite ; but when
we give attention to any one object, it stands out dis-
tinctly from the others." * As w^e become acquainted
with many persons, one by one, so we master, step by
step, the most complex subjects by concentrating our
powers on each step in succession.

3. Attention is our cajoaeity to prolong and change
effort. You keep the problem before you until mas-
tered. You keep your mind on the lesson until it is
learned. You then rest and turn to another lesson.
At will we concentrate, prolong, and change the direc-
tion of our efforts.

The Potencies of Attention. — The psychologist sometimes amuses
himself by defining each of the mental powers in terms of conscious-
ness. An equally valuable exercise is the defining of each capability
of self in terms of attention. Such exercises effectually dissipate the
error of supposing that the so-called faculties are isolated properties
of which the mind is composed. The young psychologist will need
to guard against going to the opposite extreme, in supposing that each
activity of self is merely a phase of consciousness and a potency of
attention. A deeper insight into the mental economy reveals to
you a self endowed with energies, different in kind. Awareness is
one of these energies, and attention is another. You attend, that
you may remember, and you are aware, that you attend and remem-
ber ; but memory is not attention, nor is it awareness.

III. Choice is the Native Energy of Self-Determination.

— Choice is the pre-eminent will-power, and is usually
thought of as a synonym of will. '^ Choice is the ca-
pability of free election in view of cognitions and emo-

* Dr. McCosh.


tions." " Without intellect there is no light / without
feeling there is no motive y without motive there is no
choice.'''' " Choice is the power of rational self-deter-
mination in consideration of motives." " When two
courses are open to us, choice is our power to decide
to take one rather than the other." " Choice is simj)ly
the self-determining power of the soul." " Choice is
mind in liberty, and is the power of preference."
'^ Choice is the determining power in human action.
When but one course is open, self adopts it. When
several courses are open, self as choice determines in
favor of one." " Choice is the capability to decide
what action -to take." " Clioice is the power to elect
one of two or more alternatives in view of motives ra-
tionally apprehended." " Choice is the ability to make
up one's mind in the presence of rival claims." Thus
speak the great psychologists.

1. Self is free to choose. Ideas occasion emotions,
and ideas and emotions occasion choices. Self-activity
characterizes mind. Mental acts are occasioned but
not caused. The idea of personal liberty is an intuitive
idea. That we are free to choose is clearly a necessary
truth. On this truth rests the science of duty. Per-
sons are praised and blamed, rewarded and punished,
because they are free and hence responsible. All men
know that they can choose as they please. [N'o one ever
thinks of choice as necessitated except when constrained
so to do by metaphysical dogmas. A being not en-
dowed with liberty of choice is not a person.

2. Motives occasion choices. Incentives to choice
are termed motives. These include reasons for choice,
and are the ideas and emotions which move us to de-



termine. "What was your motive ? "We often ask our-
selves as well as others this question. What induced
you to pursue that course ? Even the least cultured ask
this question. Rational choice is deliberative self-de-
termination. Motives are inducements to choose.

3. Ideas, desires, choices. Ideas are fundamental.
We must know before we can desire. Yfe keep a
thought before our minds until it awakens a desire and induces a determination. Often ideas fight and
emotions conflict. The idea of happiness through the
lawless gratification of the a23petites fights with the idea
of hap]3iness through obedience to law. The desire for
sensual pleasure conflicts with the ethical desires. The
house of mirth allures, while the house of mourning
appeals to our noblest emotions. Self as choice termi-
nates these fearful battles by determining to do right.
Ideas occasion emotions, and emotions as active desires
move us to choose. We resist unw^orthy desires, and
determine in favor of ennobling desires.

Self Determines. — I determine for myself. As I am rational, I de-
liberate before deciding. For good reasons I adopt this plan and
reject that. I am autocrat : in view of 'these conflicting ideas and
emotions I determine. I am free. : lam conscious that I can stay
or go. I am master : motives are mere considerations that 1 make
strong or weak at will. I am responsible : I myself, uncompelled,
chose to act thus ; I know I could have chosen differently. I am a
person : I am a self-acting, self-conscious, self-determining being. I
am immortal: I am in touch with the Infinite Will.

lY . Action is the Native Energy of Self to execute his
Determinations. — Volition, executive j>ower, executive
volition, action — these are the terms used to designate
our powder to carry choices over into acts. Eational


action is the capability to purposely execute determi-
nations. " Volition is born of choice, and is the power
to carry out our choices." " Volition is will in action,
and is the consummation of self-determination." " Ac-
tion is the mental execution which follows resolution."
" Executive volition is the ability to carry choices over
into acts." "Volition is our power to command all
our capabilities to unite in the execution of our pur-
poses." " Volition is the overt act of will." "Action is
the power to exert force in the line of rational choices."
Action is the capability to do what we determine to do.
Action is self executing his choices.

Reflex-Acts, Impulsive-Acts, Rational-Acts. — In the aniraal econo-
my movements which immediately follow feelings, and where there is
no rational choice, are termed automatic, reflex, instinctive, impul-
sive. Such acts are unpurposed and non-voluntary. Infinite Wis-
dom has so planned that more than nine tenths of our acts are of
this kind. Habitual acts tend to become automatic. These unpur-
posed acts require comparatively little expenditures of energy. We
are thus enabled to direct almost our entire energies to purposed
and directed effort.

A Rational Act is the Intentional Execution of a Rational Choice. —
You have before you several interesting books which you desire to
read. In what order will you read them ? After careful considera-
tion, you determine to read this book first ; this, second ; and so on.
You now proceed to execute your purpose by reading the books in the
order you determined on. Action, in its strict sense, is the capabil-
ity to execute purposes. Thus, Napoleon was a man of action, and
Bismarck a man of great executive power.

1. Self reaches the outer world through his physical
organism. Sensation and movement are the connect-
ing links between self and the not-self. It is impossible
for us to manifest any thought, feeling, or purpose ex-
cept by bodily movements. The look, the gesture, the


spoken or written word, come of bodily movements.
Self as action commands all his mental and physical
abilities in the execution of his pm*poses. The reflex
organism — marvelous mechanism ! — is the ready servant
of the will. You determine to write a letter, and in the
execution of your purpose you grasp the pen and write.
Ganglia and nerves and muscles respond to your slight-
est volitions and automatically carry on the work.
How ? IS'o one knows. Self as will originates move-
ments in the motor ganglia ; these movements induce
molecular waves, which vibrate through the motor
nerves to the muscles. The muscles contract and relax,
and thus produce the necessary movements. A mind is
self-acting, but how does it create motion ? How does
the singer call into play the right muscles in the neces-
sary degree of tension to produce the song ? How do
you converse? We here touch the unknown. Is it
also the unknowable ?

2. Repetition converts purposed action into habits.
From infancy you have been trained to pronounce cor-
rectly and speak properly and act politely ; now you do
these from habit, without thought and without pur-
pose. Wonderful! Wonderful! Habit is the great
conservator of mental energy.

3. Executive power is the capability to bring about
results. Alexander was a man of wonderful executive
power, but Aristotle excelled him. The one changed the
map, the other the thought, of the world. Executive
power is the ability to achieve. It is the ability to or-
ganize and direct. You will demonstrate your execu-
tive ability by making the most of yourself and doing
most for others.




By this is meant tlie development of our power to
devote ourselves wholly to one subject. The fact that
we can become able to do this is fundamental in educa-
tion. Rosenkranz counts this conception of attention
the most important principle in pedagogy. Great
achievements are possible to one who can concentrate
all his energies upon his wisely chosen field of work.

I. Relations of Attention to other Activities. — Will is
voluntary and purposed effort. There are clearly three
movements in acts of will : (1) Self selects a special
field and devotes himself to it : this is will as attention.
(2) Self, in view of various considerations, determines :
this is will as choice. (3) Self executes his determina-
tions : this is will as action. Attention in some form
and in some degree enters into each mental act.

1. Attention as related to choice and action. We
can study these powers separately, but we know that
self attends w^hile he determines and acts. Each of
these activities supplements the others, but the act of
concentrating your mind on one thing is essentially an
act of attention.

2. Attentioii as related to intellect. Self as atten-
tion concentrates his cognitive energies and thus gains
mastery. Effective thought is in the ratio of attention.
Compare an act of reverie with an act of investigation.
We attend, that we may know.

3. Attention as related to emotion. We attend to

* See chapter on Attention, in Elementary Psychology.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 21 23 24 25 26 27 28

Online LibraryJoseph BaldwinPsychology applied to the art of teaching → online text (page 21 of 28)