Wallace Franklin Jones.

Principles of education applied to practice online

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not find them. When we have risen above the notion
that the history text is to be committed in bits and re-
cited, that the Constitution is to be memorized, that gram-
mar is to be studied by committing and applying defini-
tions and rules, that literature study is the committing
and the dissecting of masterpieces to the end of "incul-
cating a love of good literature," that spelling is the
memorizing of letter aggregations of words found in the


spelling book, and so on, we shall then be in a position to
make better assignments of work.

B. The Deductive Method

We have already seen that deduction is the application
of general notions to the specific problems of life. We
should now see how this application is effected, the
method of the process ; and following our law that experi-
ence is the only teacher, we shall first see the method
in the concrete. Logic has supplied us with the time-
honored illustration of deductive reasoning, which is
easily competent to give us our first glimpse of deductive

Problem. Is Socrates a god or a mortal being ?

Solution. Major premise: Man is mortal.

Minor premise: Socrates is a man.
Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.

The major premise of logic is the general notion with
which we have been dealing ; and the minor premise is
the individual notion. The solution of the problem is
found by unifying the two premises and thus reaching the
conclusion. This unification is the old trait of mind
which we have seen all along; and as usual it comes about
through the common element. In this case the common
element of the two premises is expressed by the word
"man." If we hold that man is mortal, and then concede
that Socrates is a man, then comes the unification,


Socrates is mortal. The three steps of the process,
taken together, are called in logic the syllogism.

Suppose we now shake off this antiquated problem of
the Greeks, and apply the syllogistic solution to a present-
day problem. Geometry is said to, be our typically de-
ductive science ; we may try our case there.

Deduction in Geometry

Problem. "If two straight lines intersect, the vertical
angles are equal." It should be noted that this state-
ment represents a general notion, meaningless until ex-
perience puts it in the concrete. Here is our concrete.


Given. Two straight lines AB and CD, intersecting
point 0.

To prove. The vertical angles AOC and DOB, also
AOD and COB, equal.
Syllogism I. Major premise: All straight angles

are equal.
Minor premise: Angle AOC + COB,

and angle COB + BOD are straight



Conclusion: Angle AOC + COB =

angle COB + BOD. (i)

Syllogism II. Major premise: If the same or equal
things be subtracted from the same
or equal things, the remainders will
be equal.

Minor premise: Angle AOC -f COB
= angle COB + BOD. (i)

Angle COB is common.
Conclusion: Angle A OC = angle BOD.


In a similar way it may be proved that angle COB is
equal to angle AOD.

Deduction in Arithmetic

Suppose we now apply our deductive method to a prob-
lem in arithmetic.

Problem. If 12 yards of gingham cost $1.50, what
will 10 yards cost ?
Syllogism I. Major premise: One yard of cloth

costs -jV as much as 12 yards.
Minor premise: 12 yards of gingham

cost $1.50.

Conclusion: i yard of gingham costs
12^ cents. (i)


Syllogism II. Major premise: 10 yards of cloth

cost 10 times as much as i yard.

Minor premise: i yard of gingham

costs i2\ cents. (i)

Conclusion: 10 yards of gingham
cost $1.25.

The next step in this problem is the checking up of the
conclusion with experience. In this problem this may
mean nothing more than the comparison of $1.50 for 12
yards with $1.25 for 10 yards. If the two compare favor-
ably, the mind is satisfied ; for the conclusion unifies with
experience, and so the fundamental law of mind is satis-

In the usual work of geometry and of arithmetic, we do
not see the syllogistic steps so clearly revealed ; yet the
mind proceeds this way, and if a full record of the mind's
process were recorded, it would stand as indicated in the
two processes just shown. Written work is usually an
abbreviation of mind processes.

A little investigation of the two solutions will reveal the
fact that the crucial point in syllogistic reasoning is the
finding of the right general notion, or major premise,
under which the individual fact, or minor premise, is to
come. The teacher should lead the child to direct his
search systematically, by teaching him to analyze the in-
dividual fact so that its essential elements may suggest
the right general notion. Thus the student of geometry


learns to inspect the individual notion, the given inter-
secting lines in the given solution, and he finds two
straight angles with an element, angle AOC, in common ;
and he thus discovers the two principles, the two major
premises, on which to base his solution. So, too, the child
in arithmetic analyzes his individual fact, 12 yards cost
$1.50, and sees the application of the principle for finding
the cost of i yard ; and this in turn leads to the prin-
ciple for finding the cost of 10 yards.

Textbooks usually start the student by giving an illus-
tration or two (as is seen in the analysis of sentences
in grammar, or in the analysis of problems in arithmetic),
and trust to the child to catch the idea and proceed.
Sometimes the textbook suggests the appropriate general
notion, as is common in mathematics and the other
sciences. The teacher can and should improve such
assistance by training the child to systematize his search
by analysis and synthesis.

Principle. The crucial point in deductive teaching is
the direction of the pupil's search for the right general
notion, and this is done by training the pupil to systema-
tize his search by analysis and synthesis.

We are now in position to discern another principle
covering both induction and deduction. We are in the
habit of saying that induction begins with the individual
and ends with the general. This is not quite true. It
will be readily seen that when the individual has discov-


ered the law for squaring numbers, he at once better
understands the squaring of individual numbers. It is
for this purpose that the law was derived. So, too, a man
who has formed a general notion "swan" knows more
about any individual swan than he did before. No one
ever met a general swan in his experience. It is always
a particular swan that we meet ; and it is the particular
swan that we must know. No one ever met a general
number to be squared, but always it is a particular num-
ber that we have to square. So far, then, as any mind
is concerned in analyzing and comparing and isolating
common elements, it is for the purpose of better under-
standing the individuals which are met in experience. A
mind that has reached a general notion by induction
could not stop with the general notion if it chose, for all
the time we are dealing with individuals. First and last,
then, our induction would know the individual ; and so
the inductive process really begins and ends with the
individual. The end of induction is truly an enriched

We are likewise in the habit of saying that deduction
begins with the general and ends with the individual.
This, too, is not quite true to experience. A man meets a
given bird, reads into it his relevant general notion, and
says, "This is a swan." He meets an individual problem
in mathematics, applies his rules, his generalizations, and
ends with a solution of the particular problem. He


meets an individual act, applies to it his general notion
of right and wrong, and names the act accordingly. He
awakes any particular morning, never a general morning,
looks at his timepiece, and finds that it is his rising time,
and acts accordingly. Thus it happens that we never
actually begin with general notions anywhere in ex-
perience, but an individual is always the starting point
of any thinking process; hence deduction, as well as
induction, both begins and ends in the individual. That
is, experience is derived from individual and specific sense
contacts with the world about us, and all our thinking and
reasoning about those contacts is for the purpose of guid-
ing us in future specific contacts. Life problems are
concrete, and all our knowledge is knowledge of indi-

Principles. Both induction and deduction begin and
end in the individual, and all knowledge is knowledge of
the individual.

Up to this point in dealing with the development
method, we have proceeded as if all development were
either inductive or deductive. It is true that if the teacher
plans a lesson to deal with individual facts, for the purpose
of arriving at a general notion, the movement which she
has in mind we may call induction ; and when she plans
to apply the general notions already acquired to further
facts of experience, the movement is what we have called
deduction. Now it is not every development lesson that


is planned with the explicit purpose either to bring out or
to apply a general notion. If not, then the movement
is explicitly neither induction nor deduction. Caution is
here given that we are dealing with the development
method, and not with the telling method. Since all
conventional symbols, such as the alphabet, figures, and
arbitrary signs in general, cannot be developed, they
must be taught by the telling method. So, too, the mere
facts of history, as well as the facts of literature, must be
taught by some form of the telling method. But since
no isolated fact can mean anything in itself, but must
have meaning given to it out of the mind's past experi-
ence, all teaching implies induction and deduction at
every step.

While we must concede that all knowledge is the unity
of the individual and the general, of fact and meaning,
there is much development teaching in which the teacher
is not expressly trying either to reach or to apply general
notions. History, unfortunately, is commonly taught in
this way ; and so with literature ; that is, most teachers
of history and of literature are not clearly engaged in try-
ing to reach the great truths of history and of literature,
but their teaching only implies that they hope that in
some undefined way the students are reaching them.
Such methods of teaching always closely ally themselves
with the telling method ; and since they show relatively
little definiteness of form, but waver back and forth be-


tween telling and developing, perhaps Mr. Charters, in
his progressive little book, "Methods of Teaching," is
justified in branding such procedures the "Informal

C. Questioning

The most efficient topi of the development method is the
question, hence the extreme value of the art of question-
ing. We have all seen the development method wander
from its direct purpose, through irrelevant questions
either from the teacher or from the students. It is a
matter of no small importance, therefore, to know what
constitutes a relevant question.

We have already noted that every lesson must deal
with a problem which is known both to teacher and to stu-
dents. No person works well unless he understands what
his problem is. If we do not know what we are work-
ing for, our work cannot be intelligent ; it is drudgery.
If we do know our problem, then any question which
points to its solution is relevant ; and any question which
does not point to its solution is irrelevant.

Principle. The relevancy or irrelevancy of a question
is determined by referring it to the lesson problem.

If the child asks a question that appears to be irrelevant,
the teacher should at once ask, "What does this have to
do with the lesson problem ? " It is unsafe to jump at the
conclusion that a question is irrelevant ; for children do


not think as logically as teachers generally do, and the
child may be able to show that his question which appears
irrelevant is, in reality, quite relevant.

In framing questions, the teacher must see that they
are clear ; that is, that the children can see through the
questions and readily discern their meaning. Strange
words or strange orders of words confuse any mind ; and
we teachers are all guilty, and often guilty, here. "Who
can isolate the generalization?" is probably not a clear
question for a fifth-grade arithmetic class; but "Who can
state the rule?" is probably clear. So, too, the shorter
the question, the more readily, other things equal, a mind
can grasp it. Long sentences, especially if loose, puzzle
all of us. Again, the question that is ambiguous is not
good. The question should point toward a definite
answer. "What do you see ?" is a very indefinite ques-
tion to be aimed at bringing out the statement of
a generalization ; yet we often hear it. Finally) a ques-
tion should require definite thought to answer. Ques-
tions which suggest the answer, and hence are called
"leading questions"; questions that foster guessing;
and questions that can be answered by "yes" or
" no " with little thought, are not reliable tools of edu-

Principle. Questions should be clear, concise, and
definite, and require a distinct mental effort leading to
the answer.



We have already seen that the child is born with a rich
supply of impulses, and that these impulses are bound
to discharge unless inhibited. Our purpose now is to see
how these impulses are to be controlled to the end of
realizing the values of life.

To begin with, the impulse is the will of the child.
In other words, impulse is primitive will. Since the child
is born with his stock of impulses, education cannot get
back of them, but must accept them. All will-training,
therefore, must start with the impulse.

Principle. The beginning point of all will-training is
the impulse.

We have also seen (i) that any impulse is ready to go
out toward any object that promises to satisfy it ; (2) that
any object that does promise satisfaction to the impulse
is felt to be useful, and hence it is interesting; and (3)
that attention always chooses the most interesting object.
It is therefore evident that the teacher does not have to
create attention, but that her work is that of directing it,
through interest.

Principle. Attention is not something which the
teacher must create, but a force which she must direct,
through interest.

The impulses of the child must discharge before the
child can come into active contact with the world and


thus get experience. It is in this light that the teacher
must view the multitudinous little impulsions of the
child, if she would understand her problem of will-train-
ing. When an impulse has discharged, or, better still,
after it has discharged frequently, the child knows some-
thing of what the impulse means. Thus with the
whole multitude of impulses discharging, the child ac-
quires from experience a stock of ideas which guide him in
controlling his impulses. When he has come to know the
meaning of his impulses, and experience has given him
control of his voluntary muscles, he may control his
impulses. Experience, again, is the only teacher.

Principle. The intellectual side of will-training, or
discipline, consists in acquiring a stock of ideas with
which to control the impulses.

We all know from experience how easy it is for an im-
pulse to discharge "before we think" ; that is, before we
have viewed the pending act in the light of past experi-
ence. So, too, we all know that impulsive conduct is not
trustworthy, and that conduct is reliable in the degree
that impulse is guided by an adequate past experience.
The lesson to be learned by every one is, therefore, that of
holding the impulses in check until they can be viewed
in the light of past experience. Such a will is the mature,
the developed will.

Principle. The higher will is impulse guided and
controlled by the stock of ideas gained from experience.


In order that the individual may will to realize the
values of life, the ends that are good for every one,
rather than his own selfish motives, we must train his
emotions. He must be interested in the values of life.
This is only another way of saying that he must see and
feel the usefulness of the values of life. Biology gives
us a far-reaching law that governs here :

Principle. A given individual or species gives to
other individuals or species as much aid as is necessary
to enable the given individual or species to accomplish its
own ends.

We may now call upon experience to teach us just what
this law means.

The peony secretes the brown fluid, found on its bud,
for the purpose of attracting the ant. The ant appropri-
ates the fluid, and in return acts as a bodyguard for the
plant against offensive insects. Flowers secrete nectar;
not to feed the bee, but to induce the bee to carry pollen.
The fruit tree surrounds its seeds with fleshy food;
not to feed animals, but to induce animals to carry away
and disseminate the embittered or stony-covered seed
within the fruit. The ant cares for the corn root louse ;
not for the sake of the louse, but for the food which the
well-cared-for louse gives the ant in return.

Nature has unified infrahuman life through the baser
instincts ; but for man, who is made in the image of his
Creator, it is reserved to push on to a higher unity through


reason. We have seen that the fundamental law of mind
is unity, and that the ultimate problem of the human
intellect is to think the world into the ultimate unity, the
universe. An enduring world must be a world of unity.
A world of disharmony cannot endure; for disharmony
means strife, and strife is destructive. If, therefore, we
are to have a world, a universe, we must believe in unity,
must will a universe.

We recognize as reasonable only those individuals
who are willing to share our interests ; for no man can
live unto himself. Whoever wills a universe, therefore,
must will whatever is good for every one ; and he must
refuse to will what is not good for every one. Such a will,
as we have seen, is the moral will. We all believe that
morality is good for every one, and that an immoral act is
bad for every one, including the doer. The thief, the liar,
the robber, indeed the doer of any immoral act, cannot be
happy, for the reason that his act violates the deepest
law of his mind; namely, unity. Sooner or later his
deepest will must cry out against the unmoral act, must
refuse to own it; that is, his "conscience must trouble
him." Perhaps he will self-reveal to the world his own
immoral deed, and beg for the world's punishment to
undo his deed according to the algebraic law that "a nega-
tive by a negative gives a positive."

Thus the biological law of assistance holds for every one,
and the principle of give and take must hold. We must


teach the child so that he may clearly see in time that the
best world for him is the world that is best for every one.
Any act that tends to make a better world is therefore
useful to him, as well as to all ; and such an act must in-
terest him when he discerns it in this light. It is in this
way that the emotion is to be trained to realize the moral
will. The road to other lives must pass through the self ;
otherwise there could be no sympathy, no "feeling with
a self." Religion is right when it commands us, "Thou
shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Ethics, too, is
right when it accepts this command, but puts the em-
phasis on "thy neighbor." Selfishness hardly needs em-
phasis, even in this day. All higher thought demands the
complete surrender of the personal interests to what is
regarded as of universal interest. The question which the
teaching profession earnestly asks is, "How is such a sur-
render to be brought about?" Philosophy tells us only
that this is the end to be reached ; it leaves the method to
another science; namely, pedagogy. Our next step is
therefore evident.

The surrender of the personal interests to the universal
interests can never be realized by taking the child out of
himself. It is not self-abnegation that we want, but
unity; that is, we must teach the child to discern that
only that which is good for every one is ultimately good for
himself. When he has actually discerned the value, the
use of the moral life, he can be interested in morality.


We have seen that the most natively interesting thing to a
man is his own personal self, and our problem here is to
enable the child to clearly see that his own highest inter-
ests are identical with the highest interests of all.

Principle. The emotional side of will-training, or dis-
cipline, consists in developing interest in morality, by
leading the child to see that his own highest interests are
identical with those of the race.

Since the development of the moral will is a matter of
extreme importance, the method employed should be
inductive. We can afford to take no chances in this vital
matter. We have already pointed out how the school
games can be utilized in developing the moral will, but
the process must not stop there. The schoolroom and
the school grounds are teeming with concrete material for
moral teaching. There is no school child who has not
felt the inner pangs of wrong doing, nor is there one who
has not felt the happiness of right doing. These experi-
ences are to be seized, and their significance revealed.
Thus we are to lay a genuine experience basis for moral

After a real experience basis has been laid, we can ex-
tend our teaching in time and place. The community
is full of concrete material, and history and literature can
widen almost to infinity. The vital point is the experi-
ence basis, let us repeat; and what a pity to take up
history and literature, until this basis has been well es-


tablished. This work must be real and candid and
sincere. There must be nothing to savor of moral plati-
tudes, of nagging, of faultfinding, of threatening, of
"goody-goody." We have all seen the weakness of such
measures. Just in the degree that the child is led to see
and feel the relation of his conduct to his own inner free-
dom is the teaching of morals effective.

It is evident that conduct can never be reliable if it is
impulsive; hence the individual must learn to hold the
impulses in check until they have been viewed in the light
of past experience. This is only another way of saying
that the individual must voluntarily attend to his im-
pulses. In^ no other way can his acts be other than
impulsive. Voluntary attention is therefore the very
threshold of morality.

Principle. The threshold of morality is voluntary

The power of voluntary attention is therefore to be
strengthened by exercise. There is no conflict between
the highest interest and voluntary attention. We want
the individual to attend to whatever is of the highest
value, hence of the highest interest to him. Our difficulty
is, some little attractive thing catches our attention, and
our impulses are at work upon it ; while the more signifi-
cant thing is excluded. The habit of scanning our im-
pulses, of holding them back voluntarily until the highest
interest can be decided upon, is therefore of the highest


importance. This habit, like all habits, is to be estab-
lished according to the law of habit formation. Since
this law will be readily appreciated, it may be stated
directly and then illustrated.

Principle (Law of Habit Formation). (i) Arouse
a strong impulse to do the chosen act by viewing it in
terms of the deepest will, the ideal ; (2) allow this impulse
to discharge at the first opportunity, and as often there-
after as possible ; (3) allow no exceptions to occur.

To illustrate, we may suppose the teacher or parent
wishes to establish in the child the habit of telling the
truth. The first step is to get the child to discern that
truth telling is for his own highest good, as well as for the
highest good of others. The second step is to discharge
this resolution, this deepest will, while the impulse is hot
to do so, and to continue to let it discharge at every op-
portunity. The third step is to see to it that no excep-
tions occur ; for every exception registers its influence in
counteracting the new habit.

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Online LibraryWallace Franklin JonesPrinciples of education applied to practice → online text (page 16 of 18)