Survey Associates.

The Survey (Volume 58) online

. (page 110 of 130)
Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesThe Survey (Volume 58) → online text (page 110 of 130)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

constitutionality. Months elapsed. The Supreme Court
could not act because the case was not properly prepared.
It was taken to the Appellate Court. More months elapsed,
until a year had passed since the initial case was begun.
The Appellate Court finally handed down a decision against
the defendant, who was ordered to pay the fine of one hun-
dred dollars. This he did, but he continued to use children,

in fact he had

never stopped

using them, in

(Continued on

page 521)

Commonwealth vs. Sacco and Vanzetti

By A. A.

THE climax of the cause celebre which has com-
manded world-wide attention through the life
struggle of Sacco and Vanzetti is heavy with
great tragedy. Few words will here suffice to
sum up a case to review which books have been
written. Like all tragedies it is fraught with pity and fear ;
at best, one may only hope for purification.

Sacco and Vanzetti were tried for killing a Braintree
paymaster, at a time when passion against radical thought
ran supremely high, and when prejudice against their theory
of life was pumped into public consciousness by the very
government of the United States. Through error of trial
counsel, this issue was injected into the proceeding, when
the prisoners' fear of a Mitchell Palmer raid was brought
in to explain suspicious acts of theirs after the killing. The
prosecution made full use of the prejudice. The presiding
judge has been accused by reputable people of yielding to
it; the whole result was clouded with this mist. A jury
found the men guilty of murder.

Massachusetts law, through an odd trick of legal history,
permits no review of the facts as well as the law; and the
Supreme Judicial Court held, and rightly, that no technical
error had been committed at the trial. It did not and could
not support the verdict, but decided merely that no technical
right of the accused had been violated in reaching it. The
death sentence was then imposed by the trial judge.

There followed a legal battle in which the prisoners
had the benefit of exceptionally able counsel, and availed
themselves of every known constitutional device to secure
delay, review and freedom. These failing, the Governor of
Massachusetts himself undertook to review the evidence,
and appointed an impartial commission consisting of Presi-
dent A. Lawrence Lowell of Harvard University, President
Samuel W. Stratton of the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, and Judge Robert Grant to make an in-
dependent examination. All four men came separately to
the conclusion that the evidence warranted the verdict of
guilty. The Governor accordingly declined to act. The
last pitiful legal devices are being called into play to
secure delay. If these too are futile, the condemned men
will die.

It cannot be said that opportunity was denied the men
to prove their case. It can be said that a cloud was raised
at the time when innocence could best be shown, and that
review six years after the event is doubtful grace, though
better than none. It can be said that certain elements


throughout the world who fasten -on causes of disorder as
occasions for stimulating a class war which America does not
want, stiffened, by their advocacy, whatever passion there
may have been against the two radicals. By endeavoring to
make the case a pawn in the game of world revolution, they
made martyrs and betrayed the men. It can be said that
many thinking people resented the attack upon the courts,
and hoped execution of the sentence would serve somehow
as vindication. It can also be said that many careful and
serious students, and many wholly sincere minds, irrespect-
ive of liberal or conservative sentiment, and without political
afterthought, felt and still feel guilt was so doubtful, even
after all examination by jury, governor and commissioners,
that the execution should not proceed. And an issue which
should have been closed may remain open in many minds
to the end of time.

SEPARATE and distinct from all else, there is raised
the issue of capital punishment. One remembers
Dreyfus; tried, found guilty, condemned; again tried by
an alleged impartial court, again found guilty; yet events
proved him innocent in the end. Dreyfus lives. Death is
the one human penalty beyond repair. Aside from the
merits of the Massachusetts case, this parallel is too vivid
to be overlooked.

And beyond the present moment, it may be said :

Whoever uses this case as an excuse to further political
controversy, be it under the White flag or the Red, thereby
weakens the State, traduces whatever rights of memory the
condemned men have, and allies himself with the worst
element, whether radical or conservative.

Whoever in office or out inspires or assists another such
reign of hysteria as that prevailing in 1921, weakens the
State, undermines its justice and allies himself with ter-
rorism, whether Fascist or anarchist.

Whoever, having in charge as lawyer, judge or executive,
the legal machinery of the State, fails to develop to the
utmost safeguards of review, ramparts against prejudice,
and perfection of impartiality, weakens the State and lays
every thinking man open to danger in those times when
controversy runs high and the State's justice is its greatest

Whoever most deeply believes wrong has been done, must
be most ready to forgive. No hope for humanity has ever
grown to flower from a soil of hatred.


A Doctor Remakes Education


FOR thirty years I have been training teachers to
look at their work with the eyes of a physician
and to graft onto their work the physician's tech-
nique. As I look back, I see most clearly of all,
the place of vantage the physician occupies as a
teacher. He is outside the friction and difficulties of both
home and school. He brings to both not only his special
knowledge but also the careful, patient scientific attitude and
method, which are even more important in dealing with
human behavior than with the behavior of laboratory test
tubes or microscope slides. The work my assistants and I
have done in some public schools of Vienna has proved what
collaboration between teachers and psychiatrically trained
physicians can achieve.

Perhaps no country had more discouraging schools than
Austria under the old regime. Public schools are always
the reflection of the government that establishes and main-
tains them. Enlightened private schools can only modify
this governmental influence to a degree, but in the Austrian
Empire most of the non-public schools were established by
religious groups and were in their way as rigid as the state
supported institutions.

When I was a little boy our Austrian
school expressed perfectly the government's
ideal of citizenry unquestioningly obedient
to bureaucratic officialdom. I had to sit
quiet, my hands folded on the table. I was
not allowed to move. My duty was to
obey orders, and to be meticulously respect-
ful toward the teacher and toward the
government he represented. I had had a
free childhood at home. In this I differed
from many of my schoolmates and so per-
haps I felt repression the more acutely. I
know now as I knew when I was a boy,
that I was not a "bad" child. I was
never a liar, I did not steal, I went to
school regularly in spite of my intense
dislike for it, I worked conscientiously, and
I was an average student. Yet I always
had the worst report in the class because
of my mark in "morals." I could not fit
myself to the approved mold ; I could not
create the impression of servile obedience
which was the school's ideal and so I
was "bad."

The public schools of Austria were
established in 1866, after the disastrous
war between Germany and Austria. Aus-
tria was convinced that it was the Prussian

schoolmaster who won that war. The Austrian school-
master was, accordingly, to rear up in our country a gener-
ation with Prussian ideals and "efficiency."

The government's only good influence on education wj
in the direction of improved vocational courses. Even this
was not wholly a matter of governmental policy. Industrial
groups demanded better technical training to keep pace
with Austria's growing factory enterprise, and the school's
first break with the rigidly academic tradition was due to
the power of industry rather than to the foresight of the
state. Compulsory education in Austria between the ages
of six and fourteen also resulted from labor-liberal-socialist
pressure, which forced the measure as a relief for employed

But in spite of the efforts of labor and liberals, the school
system remained fundamentally the expression of the govern-
ment's ideal; obedient children, to be made into obedient
officials and an obedient army. I have seldom met an Aus-
trian of my generation in whose heart the grade school had
not stirred hatred and rebellion.

When I became a physician, I realized what this meant

in terms of human life,
what the influence of
such a warped, repress-
ed childhood was on
intelligence, courage,
self - confidence, inde-
pendence. It seemed to
me that only the physi-
cian's skill and outlook
would transform these
school - prisons into a
scheme of real educa-
tion. In 1898 I wrote
my first article develop-
ing my idea of the re-
lation between medi-
cine in the larger sense
and the school. I had
just begun an intensive
study of psychology
and psychotherapy, in
w h i c h progress \vas
then being made in
France as well as in

A little later I re-
ceived a teachinsr ap-
pointment in the exten-
sion division of the



University ( Volksheim). Gradually I gathered a large
body of students who worked with me on problems of human
behavior. In connection with this class I carried on a little
clinic, in which I invited the schools to participate, and
though there was almost no response at first, I kept urging
teachers to come to me with retarded children or children
who had emotional difficulties, and talk over their cases
with me. I had reached certain conclusions in my private
practice to which I wished to give wider application.

I had learned that it is not true that a child's intelligence
is constant throughout life. Characteristics of both
child and adult can be modified. I also discovered
that though most of the mistakes which later appear
in the child as behavior problems are made in the
home, it is almost impossible to see these faults
against the background out of which they arise. In
a new environment, such as the school, the mistakes
of the home become clear. For instance, a child
may have innumerable fears, but at home he is so
thoroughly "taken care of" that none of them
comes to the surface. Let me give an example :

IF I lock the doors of the room where I am sitting,
and if there are two friendly watch dogs to
guard those doors and a couple of police officers
right at hand, I can walk around and say quite
calmly that I have no physical fear. I am not
trembling, my heartbeat is regular I have no
symptom of terror. My statement is true. In this
locked and guarded room I am in a sheltered situation where
I can play quite splendidly the part of a man of courage.
But if I am alone on a deserted street at night, or if I see
a little child in sudden peril under circumstances calling,
not for an appearance of courage but for a courageous im-
pulse and act, the genuineness of this courage of mine will
appear. And so it is with the child. If he is away from
home, if the sense of sheltering protection is decreased, it
becomes possible to see him as he really is.

Thirty years ago I had begun to realize this, and so I
invited the teachers to come and work with me, that we
might learn together how to give children the vital edu-
cational experiences that would counteract home failures.

In the beginning there was no general interest in such
ideas. Once in a while teachers came to me, or children
with teachers or even an occasional parent. But it was only
a small beginning and a very unsatisfactory one. To help
the children by this plan meant singling out every father
and mother in the land and teaching them to make their
individual homes fit the needs of their particular children.
Through the school I could reach hundreds of children at
once. Out of the discouraging futility of my first tiny clinic
was born the plan to teach the teachers, to give them an
understanding of character through psychology and to give
them also the use of the psychologist's simple, sensible tools
for helping to adjust the child and his environment.

Then came the War, postponing all my plans. During
the War the old Austrian government crashed down and
thereafter Vienna became a very free place. The city's new
socialistic government insisted that, since the Austrian ideal
had changed, the Austrian schools as an expression of the
national ideal must also change. A teacher, Mr. Gloeckel,
formulated a school plan based on the belief that freedom
and self-confidence should be the aims of education under
the new order. Through such public school experience, he

argued, children would develop a social sense and the
capacity for group leadership. His plan was accepted and
so, from the purely educational approach, he opened the
door which made my work possible.

The Director of Schools in the new Vienna, Mr. Gloeckel,
was interested in what I was trying to do. There was a
surprising degree of interest among the teachers. I discovered
that in the old days many of them had stayed from my clinic
and classes because they were afraid the government officials
did not approve my ideas. In the two years since the War,

I have been able to
establish twenty-two
mental hygiene clinics
for public school
children. The twenty-
two clinical directors
are all my pupils,
physicians trained as
psychologists and edu-
cators. Our clinical
service is similar to
that in hospitals and
dispensaries, where
the medical student
learns by doing. In
recent years, many
physicians have come
to us from other
countries to work

with us. Each clinic is held once a week for two hours,
usually with only two or three children at each session. It
is work which must not be hurried, and we cannot afford
a large staff and equipment. All the clinics are voluntarily
supported. In the beginning this was an advantage because
it made us independent of governmental influence, but now
our work is established it is almost time for the public to
take it over and enlarge it.

Simultaneously with the establishment of the clinics the
seriously retarded children, the feeble-minded, the stut-
tering, and those with imperfect sense organs were taken
out of the regular classes and grouped by themselves, under
a plan worked out by the board of education. Thus in the
public school we were dealing only with the physically and
mentally "normal" child. Such behavior problems as arose
among them were due, not to a defect in the child, but to
defects in his method of life.

The teachers formed an organization in which they
analyzed the cases of children they wished to bring
to my attention or place under the care of my clinical

AT first I was under the impression that I must learn
how to talk to teachers, parents and to children. I
was afraid neither the teacher nor the parent could be
trusted to find the right words or the right approach, and
so I talked separately with each child, with his teacher and
with his parents. But presently I found that treating the
child as part of his group was often very effective. It made
the children realize that "no man liveth unto himself
alone," and that the mistakes of every individual affect
many lives and are of public concern. The boys and
girls could be brought to see themselves as social beings,
not as isolated units, but as essential parts of the social
whole. Often I talked with the child as though I did



not know in what way he had failed, because I had gone
into the details with the teacher and the parents.

In other cases, I find it necessary to put his problem
clearly before the child himself, not to humiliate him but
to make him understand why he is lazy or cowardly or
behind in his work, as a shop teacher might show a boy how-
to repair a machine by pointing out the maladjustment that
keeps it from working properly.

I often find children "spoiled" for school life because the
mother has done too much for them. She has made them
believe that they can shirk and dawdle and bluff their way
out of real work everywhere as they do at home. Frequently
I ask a boy, "How long would it take a clever chap to
change his habits, to learn to work alone, without stealing
the time of his teacher and his schoolmates?" He is almost
sure to answer, "One day." Then I stimulate him by pre-
tending incredulity: "Oh, no," I say, "that is impossible.
Why, it would take me at least fourteen days to change my
work habits. Surely, no mere boy could do it in one day!"
"I bet I could if I wanted to," he boasts. "I'll prove it, too."
Then I propose that he come to me in a fortnight and tell
me whether or not he has made good his boast. Now he has
a goal. It is only a little step, perhaps, but it is a definite
objective toward which to direct his effort.

AjAIN, I often make use of classrooom work to help a
child find a way out of his difficulties, or sometimes
to give the teacher a clearer insight into the lives of his
pupils. Sometimes I set a whole class the task of writing on
"How Can I Be Useful?" This turns their minds from
destructive or meaningless channels toward constructive
activity. If a child has stolen, I usually assign his class the
theme, "Why Is Stealing Useless?" It is much more help-
ful to see theft as a stupid waste of time than as an in-
fringement of an arbitrary code.

When there is a child who is blocked by fear, the whole
class may be asked to write on "What I Am Afraid Of
and Why?" This gives, the teacher a chance to talk about
the origins of fear and its effects. In these compositions the
children often make clear their whole behavior pattern,
conditioned by fears many of which they have carried over
from babyhood, and so give the teacher and parents fresh
insight that enables them to help the children free them-
selves from these emotional shackles. "What I Want to
Become in the Future" makes the child look at his own life,
and helps the teacher see the pupil as he sees himself.

If I become puzzled to know what lies behind a child's
behavior I sometimes propose that each member of the class
set down "The First Thing I Remember." These first
memories have often exerted startling influences; sometimes
as we find in dealing with adults, one can explain the entirt
course of a man's life from that man's first memory.

I REMEMBER Josef, whose teacher brought him to m
saying, "Here is a hopelessly spoiled child." Josef was not
only a persistent truant, but had been frequently detected ir
theft. We suggested that Josef write me a story about!
"My First Memory." He had been sent for a newspaper
by his father. Instead of buying the paper he ran away to
his uncle's house and begged for some cakes which he took-
home to his mother. His mother shared the sweets with
him, calling him her "dear, thoughtful darling." From this<
clue we worked out the pattern : we saw how he had
turned from his father to his mother, how his mother en-
couraged him in this, and how all his mistakes were based
on this failure in home management. This was, indeed, the
situation, and once we understood it we could help the boy.
Occasionally I discuss his mistakes with a child if I can
do it without humiliating him. I always try to be very
careful in such a case and to move slowly, watching the
effect of everything I say. Sometimes the teacher and I are
equally surprised by the results. There was one child who
had not spoken to his teacher for two years. The teacher
made an elaborate explanation, adding, "Joachim will never
talk to you there is no way to reach him." Yet the boy
voluntarily came and spoke to me, and was plainly glad to.
It was obvious, after a brief conversation, that the lad felt
repressed at home and even more so at school. The teacher
was impatient with him and created an atmosphere in which
he could not grow naturally. The more I talked with
Joachim, the more certain I became that the teacher was'
guilty of even more serious mismanagement than I had at
first suspected. "Have you whipped this child?" I asked.
"You know that is not allowed." But it would do no good
to make trouble for the teacher. The only hope for Joachim
was to make the teacher realize that there was an easier-
way to deal with the boy. "This child's confidence must
be won," I suggested. "We must bring him to a truer
attitude toward the school and toward himself. We can
never do this as long as he is terrified and repressed. We 1
must not only not beat him we must be actively kind and
sympathetic toward him." When the boy realized that'



hings were not to be as they had been, he voluntarily
jroke his brooding silence. But that was only the beginning.
\fter a long and delicate process, Joachim developed
ourage and self-confidence, and was helped into normal
ontacts with other children. The last is always the most
mportant phase of any behavior situation. The mistakes of
iroblem children, of criminals, of neurotic children and
leurotic adults, are invariably the results of social mal-
tdjustment. Such people, rinding no place for themselves
n the world of reality, make for themselves a world of
heir own.

Berta, for instance, tells me that when she is going to
leep she sees plumed knights and ladies in trailing velvet,
he cold, proud face of Elizabeth of England, the warm
>eauty of the Trojan Helen numberless faces and figures
>ut of the long ago. Suffering from depression and other
lervous symptoms, she looks for relief in another age be-
ause nothing in her world interests her. This is the real
eason why our problem children become criminals, neurotics,
uicides. This lack of social feeling is linked with lack of
ourage. If I do not feel at home in the world I am not
rave ; I am living in an enemy country, too beset with
ears to develop courage.

' I have never known a child who could not understand
is difficulties when they were set before him. If I find a
hild who fails to follow me as I trace the roots of his
nistakes, I can always be sure that I have blundered either
n interpreting his situation or in describing it to him.
ivery normal child is capable of fathoming the springs of
lis own action and reaching a true understanding of his
wn life.

rO begin with I carried this clinical work almost alone.
Gradually I have trained a corps of assistants who
an do it fully as well as I. When I commenced my work
found that a good many teachers were under the im-
)ression that only schoolmasters know how to educate. At
he same time, they were unwilling, and, though they did
ot realize it, unprepared to be real educators ; that is, to
urther the development of the whole child. Their only
nterest was in teaching curricular subjects, maintaining
.iscipline and making out reports. Indeed, many teachers
.ctively resented my offer to show them a new and better
vay to go about their work. Even those who were mildly
nterested often complained that they had so much to do,
vith thirty or forty pupils under their care, that they could

not give individual attention to each child. Little by little
they began to realize that what I taught them, far from
being an added burden, greatly lightened their load.
Looking at a boy or girl with the eyes of a trained psy-
chologist they were able to see the real child in a quarter
of an hour, to find a key to the child's family life, and
to appraise the part of home environment in determining

THEN, here in one school, there in another, a teacher
began to put into practice what I had taught him, the
results excited the interest of other teachers in the same
school. Difficulties they could not meet, we could, because
we understood the children. Sometimes teachers who came
to our clinics to criticize our methods remained to listen
and to learn. My attitude toward teachers visiting the
clinics, whatever their point of view, was always one of
friendliness. I talked about school matters with them and
tried to point out that the behavior difficulties that made
their work so hard all had another side ; they were seldom
the fault of the school or of inheritance but mistakes made

Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesThe Survey (Volume 58) → online text (page 110 of 130)