Mental Development and Education. M. V. O'Shea

1921 The Elementary school journal  
THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL JOURNAL [June success of these books has furnished evidence of the need for such material. Another book' has now appeared which is devoted to general principles of method in the high-school field. The major part of the book is given to a discussion of the aims of teaching, the fundamental factors of method, and the principal modes of instruction. The scope of these chapters is well set forth in the following quotation: School education should secure for the student five
more » ... the student five qualities: knowledge of self, of environment, and of their mutual relation; power of thought; sympathetic feeling toward environment; power to express and apply; steadiness of character and permanence of attainments. Instruction which is adapted to the realization of this fivefold aim may be thought of as consisting of six elements or method factors: acquisition, as the securing of information; reflection, as its interpretation; expression, as the giving out of received experiences; appreciation, as the feeling response to situations; drill, as the rendering permanent of experiences; and testing, as the insuring of results sought. .... In the realization of the lesson aim, instruction may be viewed under five modes, which are variously combined in the method of instruction for different lessons: viz., Recitation, Problematic, Appreciation, Expression-Application, and Laboratory [pp. 41-42]. All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions ( 1921] EDUCATIONAL WRITINGS 795 yielding an insight into the nature of the physical and mental development of children, but thus far, at least, it has influenced but little the major problems of education. Animal and comparative psychology have linked themselves with it and, together with physiology, have given us the present-day biological psychology. As an introduction to an understanding of the developmental periods of man it has proved of great worth. One of the most vigorous exponents of the new dispensation has been Professor O'Shea, whose recent volume' enables him with renewed confidence to put forth the views he holds concerning it. His point of view is best expressed in the following quotation from the Preface: It may be said that one who regards human nature from the standpoint of biological psychology seeks to explain the behavior of a child or youth on the basis of natural laws governing the development of his body, his intellect and character. There are three parts to the book: The first deals primarily with the instincts, the order of their development, their manifestation, their influence, together with the manner in which they may be utilized as an explanation of behavior. Although one meets with no new concepts here, one finds the results of extensive researches on the part of the author. Part II, under the introductory caption of "Educational Interpretations," seeks to bring the facts previously established into definite relation to the problems of the school and the home, in so far as educational activities are concerned. He pleads for rational sense-training, learning by doing, and for the inclusion in the school of actual life-activities. Much stress is laid upon the power of suggestion. Two lengthy chapters are devoted to overstrain in education. Here the discussion centers chiefly about the conditions resulting in wastage of nerve energy, in the development of bad physical habits of posture, eating, sleeping, etc. The effects of faulty external conditions such as ventilation, heating, and lighting are dealt with briefly. Part III, of over one hundred pages, is made up of quotations and questions, and the statement of problems which may serve as the basis for discussion and investigation. It is designed, quite evidently, for the use of reading circles and teachers' clubs and as a means of enabling students to bring to play upon the problems the principles developed in the other two parts of the book. The book presents a phase of educational thought which is forcing itself more and more into evidence. Indeed, most of the facts with which it deals are recognized as of great significance. But one constantly asks himself how the school must be reorganized in order that these ideals may be realized. How must the curriculum be modified ? How is the administration to be changed ? What methods shall we use in order that more effective outcomes 'M.
doi:10.1086/455062 fatcat:54dlcix2kvbl3anl7epzje6ywa