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he can but reflect that we have been engaged as a people in inventing the machinery of school-work, and have not fully appreciated the more difficult task of producing the machinist; or, to restate the thought, we have busied ourselves upon means for external application to the mind of the student rather than upon a rationalizing of the modes of mental structure. So long as this state of things continues, “criticism” must be of value as a means of stimulating imitation only, a result of value to the mind incapable of comprehension of principles, but dwarfing and pernicious in its effects upon other minds. We do not want less attention given to educational appliances: we do want more insight into the purpose of each. “Criticism” might well be defined as the process of making a pupil-teacher rationally conscious of the category of purpose.

4. To undertake to define the modus operandi of “criticism” is like carrying coals to Newcastle. For the person who comprehends its rationale is selfdeterminative in its sphere, and one who is an empiric in thought has not the elements needful out of which to formulate a definition. However, a suggestion or two may not be inappropriate. I would have the critic-teacher hold close to comprehensive laws rather than the specific instance. Subsume the special under its proper genus in all cases. Let criticism be directed more to a class than to the individual. This will prevent that too personal criticism which tends towards imitation as its law, destroying the personality of the teacher. I would hold the pupil-teacher to a strict account as to the purpose of his work, both for the day, the grade, and the future. For this reason he must know subjects comprehensively, that he may know parts in their true relations. An example in arithmetic may need to be seen in its relation to the whole circle of mathematical concepts in order to its full comprehension. This view of subject-matter is all too uncommon on the part of critic-teachers themselves. I would have the critic-teacher familiar with the history of educational ideas, and with mental science as a conscious possession. This alone can give him the ability to recognize and classify the facts of the various subjects of instruction as data in consciousness, without which ability he must ever grope blindly in the field of empiricism. I would have the critic-teacher separate sharply between the empiric art process in instruction, and the rational This will keep distinct in the mind of the pupil-teacher the line marking the division of the categories of means and purpose.

The blanks and plans of work I have examined into in use in the normal schools of America suggest little attempt at a division. But to attempt any process of criticism without an adequate theory of the art of knowing, is like trying to cure dyspepsia with plasters and liniment. As pedagogical seminaries, standing as the representatives of the best thought in education, normal schools in their applied science - for such the criticism work really is - must rise to a higher plane. They must become the seats of the educational philosophy of the coming century, and this result will first make itself felt in the criticism work of the training-schools.


An Inquiry into the Nature and Character of the educational effects which sys

tems of subject-matter, and forms in which it is taught, have upon the mind of the pupils in the primary grades – the first three years of school-life, beginning

at five years of age. This theme may be restated thus: An inquiry into the effects which form in subject-matter has upon

the form of mental activity of the pupils who learn the subject matter.


I. Form in subject matter means the shape, figure, conformation, mould, fashion, appearance, phenomenon, under which the subject matter is held, maintained, borne, supported, seized, known, cognized. Subject matter includes anything and everything that is to be done, worked, accomplished, or that exists; nothing exists, or is done, without form. Each and every subjectmatter exists under a form which is peculiar to itself: e.g., (1) This apple (a crab-apple) exists under its peculiar form of sonorousness, of touch, of taste, of color, of smell; it can be cognized by five senses — i. e., one of its qualities (color) exists in that peculiar form which is cognized by the eye, another quality (odor) exists in that form which is cognized by the sense of smell, another form (smoothness) is cognized by the sense of touch, another peculiar form of quality (sonorousness) is cognized by the ear, and another form (sourness) is cognized by the sense of taste; these five forms of qualities constitute the unit form that is known as this crab-apple; (2) This sunshine exists under its peculiar form of matter, i. e., it can be cognized by the senses of sight and touch, but not by the senses of hearing, smell, and taste; (3) Subjective phenomena ( forms of subject-matter) are cognized by self-consciousness : e. g., joy is cognized by self-consciousness.

Some kinds of subject matter exist in forms that are fixed by the innate constitution of the things; these forms are called the natural forms of the things: e.g., (1) The form of this apple (a Greening) is natural to this object; (2) The form of this horse ("Tom") is natural to himself; (3) The form of this tree (a pine) is natural to itself; (4) The form (characteristics of this rock is natural; (5) The form of this flower (a sunflower) is natural to itself. Thus it is with all natural objects.

Other kinds of subject-matter exist in forms that are controlled wholly, or in part, by the agency of man. These forms are artificial; they include (1) material products (as piano, silk thread); and (2) mental products, as these thoughts, those words, these feelings, these volitions—also all those subjects which are constituted of “mental contents” (Überweg ), as history, science, mathematics.

II. System of subject matter is a “complex whole, put together;" it is subject-matter elaborated into form by students, teachers, authors, inventors, when they arrange the parts in an order of succession, the procedure being guided by some theory of relationship of part to part and of part to the whole. It may be asserted as a fundamental proposition, that no subject of study or of practice can exist unless it exist under some form — called system: 1.9., the Grube system of number, the Pestalozzian system of number, the Tonic-sol-fa system of music, the Spencerian system of penmanship, the Swedish and the German systems of physical culture.

III. Form in mental activity means that peculiar activity which the mind exerts when it does any particular thing, or thinks any particular thought or word; it is that native endowment of aptitude or of adjustment by which the mind is enabled to seize, grasp, apprehend, comprehend, take hold of, any form of subject-matter: e.g., to think "boy" is one form of mental activity; to think “d=3” requires another form; thus with all forms of subject-matter -- each requires a form of mental activity that is adjusted to grasp it.

IV. Form is given to mental activity by the form of the subject-matter that is cognized, seized, known, thought, or done; this proposition is true in the most general sense. Each and every form of the thing to be done or thought requires its own (peculiar) form of mental activity to do it or to think it. Adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing numbers are four different forms of mental activity. Mastery of these processes implies that the act as of addition is performed with a minimum of conscious attention; and with a maximum of readiness and of accuracy in the form. Grant mastery in these processes, yet when one comes to "applied arithmetic,” which is another form of subject-matter, the mental activity proceeds in a form that is not like the form in the computations; the matter is related in its parts; these relations must be discerned. Again, e.g., the eye of the Indian of our forests is trained (form of mental activity) on trails of wild animals (forms of subject matter); his eye is expert in detecting footprints and other evidences of presence or passage; but this same eye (formed on trails and habitat) is satisfied, gratified, with the rudest colors (forms of subject-matter), because these colors gave form to the activity. This characteristic of mental activity is one of the natural phenomena of mind. To remember names, is one form of activity, formed on names; if the subject matter (names) is changed to dates, the form of the act of remembering them is modified accordingly; one mind adjusts itself more readily to the names, another to the dates. The hand acquires cunning (form of activity) on the keys of the piano (form of subject matter); yet this cunning of the hand will be clumsy with knitting-needles (another form of subject-matter).

V. Exercise and repetition in the activities of one faculty lead to mastery in those particular forms only. The “butter-taster” is expert in distinguishing shades of flavor—in butter, not in teas or coffees; this expertness of the sense of taste does not help the eye to discern tints and hues in color. The fingers may be master of the frets and bow of the violin, but the feet will not travel more easily or rapidly, or gracefully, from the skill of the fingers. The general law of nature in learning appears to be that each form of subjectmatter must be learned in its own way (form). Geometry cannot be learned

by the same form of activity that learns algebra. No two subjects are alike in form, unless they are identical. Mastery of one subject stands for itself alone, in so far as the subject differs from others in form.

VI. Mastery is habit; and habit is power acting in specific form. When the state called habit is attained by one in any line of study or practice, he is in the condition known as mental freedom in that line - i.e., he can pursue this line into new fields; the forms of activity being familiar to him, he gives the maximum of his power to investigating the new materials in this territory: e.g., after one has learned to talk, to use the forms of language, he can pursue studies in that language, because he is free from the bondage of conscious attention to forms (learning words and forms of speech). One cannot study intelligently and with freedom the German language until he is master of the forms of the language. Freedom, emancipation, in music comes only after a mastery of the forms that constitute music.

VII. When the forms of different subjects are similar, the habit acquired upon one of the subjects will be conserved in greater or less part to aid one in learning the other subjects: e.9., the power acquired in mastering the keyboard of the piano aids one to master the keyboards of the great organ. When forms of different subjects are dissimilar, the habit acquired upon one of the subjects will not be conserved to aid one in learning the other—it may be antagonistic, even: e.g., the mastery of the smith's arm and fingers over his forge and sledge is antagonistic to efforts to master the piano.

VIII. The teacher gives form in the school room to all the subjects that are not natural (see I)— i. e., to nearly all that the child studies. As the forms of the subject condition the forms of mental activity (see IV), the teacher (author) has great power and responsibility in the school-room. The teacher builds up, gives form to the system ( as of number) used by the children; this system conditions the form of mental activity which the pupils exhibit in their daily studies in the subject. The teacher gives form to the subject matter taught to the children ; and the form of the subject matter (system) conditions the form of the mental activity of the pupils.

IX. Finally, this investigation has: (1) Defined form in subject matter, and classified the forms generally into natural and artificial; (2) defined system of subject-matter; (3) defined form in mental activity; (4) showed that form of subject matter conditions the form of mental activity of the one who learns the matter; (5) showed that mastery is mastery only in the form in which it was acquired; (6) defined mastery as habit, and that habit is the condition precedent to mental liberty ; (7) showed that the forms of subjects may be supplementary to each other in acquiring mastery over them, or that the forms may be antagonistic to this mastery; (8) established the place and power of the subject-matter and the teacher in the school-room. It only remains to be said that children in their early years should be put upon those forms of subject-matter (systems), and taught those forms of activity which are to persist with them in their subsequent career in life.

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