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The effective environment of a child is limited at a given time by his heredity and past experience. The hereditary factor is fixt, and limits permanently the possibilities of education. The school must take children with the different natures with which they have been endowed and do the best it can with them. Education can not develop children of different natures into beings of the same capacity and power; nature herself can not do that. Neither nature nor art can develop in a pig, for instance, anything but a higher pighood, or in a man anything but a higher manhood.
Now the object of education is to bring the child into responsive relationship to selected phases of his environment, that is, to create for him an effective environment, an environment that will stimulate the desired activities. It is the business of all those who are concerned with education to create for the child an ideal environment and then to make it effective.
Now to a certain extent all children are alike. Certain phases of the environment may therefore be expected to secure a general response, or may be made to do so.
To a certain extent, then, the demands of education are met by providing an approved general environment, in the home, the school and the community. So far as the school is concerned, it should provide the best possible environment, in grounds, buildings, interior decorations, and other matters, all the impersonal elements. The provision of this environment is chiefly the task of the school authorities.
It is the function of the teacher to awaken response to the environment provided this does not happen spontaneously, and to secure response to special and selected phases of the general environment. The will of the child is, of course, an important factor in the educative process. But the only method that can be employed by the teacher to affect the will is the skilful manipulation of the environment.
There follow certain more or less obvious pedagogical implications: first, parents, school authorities, and the public, of course, who authorize the authorities and provide the material means of education, should provide grounds, buildings, equipment and a teaching force which in the opinion of the best educational thought will, if responded to by the children, call forth the activities necessary to the development of good and useful citizens. This requires knowledge and money. Educational authorities, then, should be the most intelligent members of the community, and educational expenditure should be its chief financial concern.
The second implication is that the teacher must study child life and the particular children of the school so that thru an understanding of the growth and expression of the mind of the child there may be awakened progressively in him responses to those phases of the environment, natural and artificial, that will produce the desired activity. Froebel's injunction: "Find what nature interids for the children and follow that,” does not hold, for the reason that nature intends nothing for children, nor for anything else. It is what those concerned in the education of children intend that is the important matter.
Education, then, involves and demands an intimate, scientific acquaintance with the emotions, impulses and instincts of children in general, and of the particular children with which the educator is immediately concerned, their native reactions and the order of their development. It requires a knowledge of what part of the natural and artificial environment is best adapted to the production of those reactions necessary to the development of the best types of men and women and the skill requisite to manipulate that environment artifically so as to secure the desired responses. In view of these demands and opportunities the old idea that “anybody can teach school” becomes ridiculous enough, and it also becomes clear that nobody has ever been endowed with a genius so vast that it may not find ample opportunity for full exercise in the work of the humblest school.
I. W. HOWERTH UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
METHODS OF TEACHING AT ANNAPOLIS The Naval Academy at Annapolis has in its possession a gold medal from the Paris Exhibition, awarded, according to the letter of transmission, "to the best educational institution in the United States and the best naval school in the world.” These superlatives are difficult of proof, and the medal was received some twenty-five years ago; yet the award probably agrees with an opinion still widely current regarding the excellence of the educational systems at both Annapolis and West Point as measured by our civil schools and colleges. Quite aside from invidious comparisons, the educational isolation and distinctive purpose of our military schools have led to the development of ideals and methods in many ways unique and worthy of the most careful study. It would seem that both military and civil education might well learn by the mistakes and successes of the other; yet it must be admitted that both have in the past pursued their ways independently, with little effort to profit mutually by counsel or example.
The excellent accomplishment of Annapolis and West Point is of course partly accounted for by the peculiar advantages they enjoy. Their students are selected and fairly typical young Americans from every section of the country; more frequently than in the past they are chosen by competitive examination; and every one of them must demonstrate before he enters that he is in sound physical health. Again, the remarkable circumstance that these students are paid for pursuing their studies, instead of themselves paying for the privilege, operates not only as a stimulus to industry, but as a reminder that their activities are not in the nature of a pastime or prelude, but rather
an actual part of the business of life. And finally, no other school, liberal or technical, is able to offer as an incentive and reward to every man who completes the course an honorable and adequately paid life position, with steady promotion and liberal allowance for old age. Under such conditions one may easily see that marks are no joking matter and that failure is something more than a casual mishap.
A more fundamental explanation of the success of these schools lies in the fact that they assume almost complete control over the lives of their students. Moral, physical, and even social, as well as intellectual training, are taken in hand, and are carried forward in pursuance of a fairly well-defined ideal. The Naval Academy, for instance, to take the school with which the writer is more familiar, is established for the sole purpose of training capable naval officers—a career that calls for definite qualities of character and personality even more urgently than for purely intellectual proficiency. The rigid system of drills and physical training; the supervision of the midshipmen's activities at every hour of the day, and for at least eleven months in the year; the practical experience and mingling with men during the three months' summer cruise; the ésprit de corps of the midshipmen, much heavier in its pressure on the individual than that of any student body in our colleges; the daily contact with officers whom the midshipmen naturally look up to as examples in their chosen profession-all these influences are brought to bear for the development of the kind of men the navy needs, men much of a type, perhaps, with the eccentricities of individual genius smoothed off and subdued, yet men well fitted to encounter the varied duties of naval officers and to perform them with credit. To such influences the success of our service schools must primarily be ascribed.
It is true that the strict discipline suited for the development of military character is not in all respects either possible or desirable in a college. The difference of aim and method is indeed well brought out in Mr. H. S. Pritchett's excellent article contrasting West Point and Harvard, and entitled The College of Discipline vs. the College of Power (Atlantic Monthly, November, 1908). But it is true also that our colleges, as a result of much earnest heart-searching in recent years, have come to realize the need of rising more fully and willingly to their responsibility for the all-around training of the youth under their care. Here, for their possible benefit, is the example of schools that have at least recognized this broader aim and pursued it with fair success. Study of the example might lead to the discovery of ways by which the college student could be made to feel more keenly that character and conduct count and are under the observation of faculty as well as fellow students. To this end, and in fulfilment of its proper function, the college might very wisely strengthen its influence over the student's future career, gauging his capacities, guiding him to work for which he is suited, if he is worthy, helping him to get it. Such extension of scope would obviously call for men of character and personality (to use a much abused and misinterpreted word) on the college faculty as well as specialists in thermodynamics or Old Norse.
The Naval Academy, as has been pointed out, is less preoccupied with intellectual pursuits than are our civil colleges and technical schools. Within this field, however, comparative study is especially invited by general similarity of aim, accompanied as it is by wide divergence of methods. The academy, it is true, is strictly neither a college nor a technical school, but a combination of both, since it essays the difficult task of providing in four years a modicum of liberal education in literature, history, and languages, along with the technical knowledge required for the naval profession. By similarity of aim, then, is meant simply that all three types of school seek to train and inform the mind, and that in this endeavor the broader principles of teaching hold good, whatever the subject matter. The divergence of methods is due largely to the fact that thruout the history of the academy the majority