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overtime. Certainly “character "--mere general, abstract
, character—as it is so often ladled out to us by pedagogical purveyors, and sometimes by religious idealists, is not of high utility. For the most part it connotes, apparently in the mind of the speaker, and almost surely in that of the average audience, simply "goodness.” The great query put to the individual today is not “ Are you good ? ” but “What are you good for?” Between being good in the old characteristic sense and being good for something there is all the abyss that is conventionally supposed to lie between theory and practise. It is clear that neither “goodness” character” will serve the great social needs of the twentieth century unless exprest and realized as efficiency. This is the term our chapel talks and commencement addresses should substitute, at least for a few years, for the threadbare old phrases. And the efficiency upon which we must lay the stress is not merely the ability of the individual to compass his own selfish ends economically, but above all his ability and willingness to contribute real service to the general welfare of the community and country. A“character” which fails to register itself in efficient action may be ever so good in the popular sense and yet fail miserably in those most essential requisites of modern men and women—vocational and social efficiency—the capacity to accomplish valuable social results economically.
A machine can be constructed which will show high efficiency from the very start—at least from the time that, like Kipling's ship, it finds itself. With a human being it is otherwise. He needs more adjustment. Experience and efficiency go hand in hand up to the point where chloroform or a Carnegie pension is prescribed. It goes without saying that the college will never be expected to develop a full-fledged vocational or social efficiency in the student by the time his commencement day rolls around. The business of the college is now, as in reality it always has been, to develop potential efficiency. This does not mean efficiency in general or in the ab
That would be little better than the old characterformula. Outside a few exceptionally versatile minds, such a thing as general, unspecialized efficiency does not exist. Nor
does it mean "pure culture." Whether we have in mind vocational or social needs, the efficiency demanded today is in large measure specialized aptitude and capacity. Where division of labor and specialization of calling have so ramified into all walks of life as they have, this demand for highly concentrated efficiency is sure to increase. And it is sure not to be limited to the industrial field. As soon as we succeed in escaping the ethics of a doctrinaire individualism into a well-formulated social ethics this demand for definite capacity to do something and do it well will become universal. It is in some ways pitiful to see the number of college students who stand ready for that vague thing they have heard of as “social service," but of which they possess very inadequate notions and for which they have no training. Social service to them usually connotes friendly visiting and religious mission work. Only here and there does the idea sink in that service is a very broad and deep conception, and that the root of it is after all in vocation. If then, defining “ vocational efficiency ” broadly, we dare say it is the distant end toward which the college should direct its best efforts, we should be allowed to do so without being hauled ruthlessly into the helter-skelter stampede for industrial education, without discrimination as to time, place, or circumstance.
To say that the business of the college is to develop potential efficiency is far from a demand that the college be transformed into a group of administratively related technical schools or courses. A perception of the inadequacy, if not the downright erroneousness, of the old formal discipline and character-building ideas does not commit us to the logical necessity of eliminating from our college aims that of affording a general educational basis for later technical and professional instruction; nor does it mean that we shall stand ready in cap and gown to confer a bachelorship in the arts uponi any one who happens to have completed a certain number of years' study in professional courses, irrespective of his general preparation for such specialization or for the responsibilities of social citizenship.
The time is undoubtedly past when the college, or below it the secondary schools, can suffer the illusion that any prescribed course in formal discipline can prepare an individual alike for the pulpit or the shop, but we can not afford in the reaction to fall into the equally erroneous doctrine that all subjects are of approximately equal educational value “ provided only the personality of the teacher be right," and therefore that "everything depends on the teaching process." It is not logical to assume an inexhaustible supply of ideal teachers, nor is it to be supposed that the average teacher will have such control over his teaching processes that they will be for him an alchemy wherewith he can bring clear wine out of sawdust. The most he can hope for from wooden material is wood alcohol—a very commercial product. Certain subjects are not for the college, however attractive they may be to the young directors of schools of commerce affiliated therewith. Courses in factory management, in detailed railroad finance, in card catalog office systems, etc., are probably necessary to commercial efficiency, and they may, for aught the writer knows, be taught with an element of “culture” in them, but there are nevertheless valid reasons for thinking them out of place in a college curriculum. The theory that all subjects are of the same educative value “ if taught as they should be,” and that the college curriculum should therefore be thrown open to all sorts of vocational and professional courses, fails in two essential respects. In the first place it fails in perception of the value of foundational courses; and secondly, in its worship of the personality of the teacher and of his teaching processes, it loses sight of the importance of subject matter-of the diverse value and propriety of different subjects for different educational ends. If the purpose of the college were to train in a narrow, highly specialized, professional efficiency—as most of the engineering schools do, for example—then we should throw the doors wide open to technical courses. But the college has another duty. We must not let any enthusiast lightly relieve us of the conviction that vocational efficiency, and especially that larger efficiency which looks to the bearing of vocational activity on the welfare of society, can not be developed without a broad and solid foundation, any more than a great telescope can be erected on a sand heap and be expected to behave properly. The business of the college is to provide the foundations of efficiency and not to attempt to extend its operations into the superstructure of distinctly vocational technique. This is what is meant in saying that the function of the college is to develop potential efficiency.
To attempt to ascertain the part any group of subjects, such as the social sciences, has to play in the fulfilment of this college function, what their place in the college world should consequently be, and what should be the specific aim or aims of their teachers, it is necessary to have in mind an outline classification of the main subjects or subject-groups, chiefly in the college, but with some reference to the secondary and primary schools below it and to the technical and professional schools after it. The classification here proposed lays no claim to completeness, originality, or finality. It is constructed simply for the needs of this discussion. If it serves to orientate us somewhat with regard to the place and value of the social subjects, that is all we ask of it.
For our purposes it is convenient to adopt a double classification. On the one hand, studies may be classified into three large “groups," based upon the definiteness or closeness of their relation to vocation, as follows:
1. General foundational subjects
3. Vocational courses. On the other hand, they may be divided into three “series," with reference to their primary educational function in each group, as follows:
A. Symbolical studies
C. Environmental, or orientating, studies. The accompanying table shows the relations these coördinate classifications bear to each other, and the position of the social subjects in the general scheme.
All subjects from tion in the symbol- this point on should ical studies as is
be taught in such
Advanced and specialized courses chosen with reference to future calling, but taught also
as to enlarge the student's knowledge of environment and to train in the method of the subject in hand
Modern language Physics
cially organic Psychology
evolution Evolutionary ethics
Applied detailed courses with specific vocational purpose