Most of the older theories of play did not take into account these three facts, i.e., the identity in original nature of the roots of play and work; the fact that man's original nature fits him for primitive not civilized society; the complexity of the situation—response connection and its necessary variation with minor elements in the external situation and in the individual. Earlier writers, therefore, felt the need of special theories of play. The best known of these theories are, first, the Schiller-Spencer surplus energy theory; second, the Groos preparation for life theory; third, the G. Stanley Hall atavistic theory; fourth, the Appleton biological theory. Each of the theories has some element of truth in it, for play is complex enough to include them all, but each, save perhaps the last, falls short of an adequate explanation.
Two facts growing out of the theory of play accepted by the last few paragraphs need further discussion. First, the order of development in play. The play activities must follow along the line of the developing instincts and capacities. As the nerve tracts governing certain responses become ready to act, these responses become the controlling ones in play. So it is that for a time play is controlled largely by the instinct of manipulation, at another time physical activity combined with competition is most prominent, at another period imagination controls, still later the puzzle-solving tendency comes to the point followed by all the games involving an intellectual factor. This being true, it is not surprising to find certain types of play characterizing certain ages and to find that though the particular games may vary, there is a strong resemblance between plays of children of the same age all over the world. It must not be forgotten, however, that the readiness of nerve tracts to function, and therefore the play responses, depends on other factors as well as maturity. The readiness of other tracts to function; past experience and habits; the stimulus provided by the present situation; absence of competing stimuli; sex, health, fatigue, tradition—all these and many more factors modify the order of development of the play tendencies. Still, having these facts in mind, it is possible to indicate roughly the type of play most prominent at different ages.
Children from four to seven play primarily in terms of sensory responses, imagination, imitation, and curiosity of the cruder sort. Love of rhythm also is strong at this period. From seven to ten individual competition or rivalry becomes very strong and influences physical games, the collecting tendency, and manipulation, all of which tendencies are prominent at this time. Ten to twelve or thirteen is characterized by the "gang" spirit which shows itself in connection with all outdoor games and adventures; memory is a large factor in some of the plays of this period, and independent thinking in connection with situations engendered by manipulation and the gang spirit becomes stronger. At this period the differences between girls and boys become more marked. The girls choose quieter indoor games, chumming becomes prominent, and interest in books, especially of the semi-religious and romantic type, comes to the front. In the early adolescent period the emotional factor is strong and characterizes many of the playful activities; the intellectual element takes precedence over the physical; the group interest widens, although the interest in leadership and independent action still remains strong; teasing and bullying are also present. This summary is by no means complete, but it indicates in a very general way the prominent tendencies at the periods indicated.
The second fact needing further elaboration is that of the complexity of the play activity. Take, for instance, a four-year-old playing with a doll. She fondles, cuddles, trundles it, and takes it to bed with her. It is jumped up and down and dragged about. It is put through many of the experiences that the child is having, especially the unpleasant ones. Its eyes and hair, its arms and legs, are examined. Questions are asked such as, "Where did it come from?" "Who made it?" "Has it a stomach?" "Will it die?" In many instances it is personified. The child is often perfectly content to play with it alone, without the presence of other children. This activity shows the presence of the nursing instinct, the tendency towards manipulation, physical activity, imitation and curiosity of the empirical type. The imagination is active but still undifferentiated from perception. The contentment in playing alone, or with an adult, shows the stage of development of the gregarious instinct. A girl of nine no longer cuddles or handles her doll just for the pleasure she gets out of that, nor is the doll put through such violent physical exercises. The child has passed beyond the aimless manipulation and physical activity that characterized the younger child. Instead she makes things for it, clothes, furniture, or jewelry, still manipulation, and still the nursing instincts, but modified and directed towards more practical ends. Imitation now shows itself in activities that are organized. The child plays Sunday, or calling, or traveling, or market day, in which the doll takes her part in a series of related activities. But in these activities constructive imagination appears as an element. Situations are not absolutely duplicated, occurrences are changed to suit the fancy of the player, as demanded by the dramatic interest. A fairy prince, or a godmother, may be participants, but at this age the constructive imagination is likely to work along more practical lines. Curiosity is also present, but now the questions asked are such as, "What makes her eyes work?" "Why can't she stand up?" or they often pertain to the things that are being made for the doll. They have to do with "How" or "Why" instead of the "What." The doll may still be talked to and even be supposed to talk back, but the child knows it is all play; it is no longer personified as in the earlier period. For the child fully to enjoy her play, she must now have companions of her own age, the older person no longer suffices.
The outdoor games of boys show the same kind of complexity,—for instance, take any of the running games. With little boys they are unorganized manifestations of mere physical activity. The running is more or less at random, arms and vocal organs are used as much as the legs and trunk. Imitation comes in-what one does others are likely to do. The mere "follow" instinct is strong, and they run after each other. The beginnings of the fighting instinct appear in the more or less friendly tussles they have. The stage of the gregarious instinct is shown by the fact that they all play together. Later with boys of nine or ten the play has become a game, with rules governing it. The general physical activity has been replaced by a specialized form. Imitation is less of a factor. The hunting instinct often appears unexpectedly, and in the midst of the play the elements of the chase interfere with the proper conduct of the game. The fighting instinct is strong, and is very easily aroused. The boys now play in gangs or groups, and the tendency towards leadership manifests itself within the group. The intellectual element appears again and again, in planning the game, in judging of the possibility of succeeding at different stages, or in settling disputes that are sure to arise. So it is with all the plays of children: they are complexes of the various tendencies present, and the controlling elements change as the inner development continues.
All activities when indulged in playfully have certain common characteristics. First, the activity is enjoyed for its own sake. The process is satisfying in itself. Results may come naturally, but they are not separated from the process; the reason for the enjoyment is not primarily the result, but rather the whole activity. Second, the activity is indulged in by the player because it satisfies some inner need, and only by indulging in it can the need be satisfied. It uses neurone tracts that were "ready." Growing out of these two major characteristics are several others. The attention is free and immediate; much energy is used with comparatively little fatigue; self-activity and initiative are freely displayed.
At the other extreme of activity is drudgery. Its characteristics are just the opposite of these. First, the activity is engaged in merely for the result—the process counting for nothing and the result being the only thing of value. Second, the process, instead of satisfying some need, is rather felt to be in violation of the nature of the one engaged. It uses neurone tracts that are not "ready" and at the same time prevents the action of tracts that are "ready." It becomes a task. The attention necessarily must be of the forced, derived type, in which fatigue comes quickly as a result of divided attention, results are poor, and there is no chance for initiative.
Between these two extremes lies work. It differs from play in that the results are usually of more value and in that the attention is therefore often of the derived type. It differs from drudgery in that there is not the sharp distinction between the process and the result and in that the attention may often be of the free spontaneous type. It was emphasized at the beginning of this chapter that the boundaries between the three were hazy and ill defined. This is especially true of work; it may be indistinguishable from play as it partakes of its characteristics, or it may swing to the other extreme and be almost drudgery. The difference between the three activities is a subjective matter—a difference largely in mood, in attitude of the person concerned, due to the readiness or unreadiness of the neurone tracts exercised. The same activity may be play for one person, work for another, and drudgery for still another. Further, for the same person the same activity may be play, work, or drudgery, at different times, even within the same day.
Which of the three is the most valuable for educational purposes? Certainly not drudgery. It is deadening, uneducative, undevelopmental. Any phase of education, though it may be a seemingly necessary one, that has the characteristics of drudgery is valueless in itself. As a means to an end it may serve—but with the antagonistic attitude, the annoyance aroused by drudgery, it seems a very questionable means. Education that can obtain the results required by a civilized community and yet use the play spirit is the ideal.
But to have children engaged in play, in the sense of free play, cannot be the only measure. There must be supervision and direction. The spirit that characterizes the activities which are not immediately useful must be incorporated into those that are useful by means of the shifting of association bonds. Nor can all parts of the process seem worth while to the learner. Sometimes the process or parts of it must become a means to an end, for the end is remote. But all this is true to some extent in free play—digging the worms in order to go fishing, finding the scissors and thread in order to make the doll's dress, making arrangements with the other team to play ball, finding the right pieces of wood for the hut, and so on, may not be satisfactory in and of themselves, but may be almost drudgery. They are not drudgery because they become fused in the whole process, they take over and are lost in the joy of the undertaking as a whole; they become a legitimate means to an end, and in so far take over in derived form the interest that is roused by the whole. It is this fusion of work and play that is desirable in education. This is the great lesson of play—it shows the value and encourages the logical combination of the two activities. Children learn to work as they play. They learn the meaning and value of work. Work becomes a means to an end, and that end not something remote and disconnected from the activity itself, but as part and parcel of it. Thus the activity as a whole imbued with the play spirit becomes motivated.
The play spirit is the spirit of art. No great result was achieved in any line of human activity without much work, and yet no great result was ever gained unless the play spirit controlled. It is to this interaction of work and play that each owes much of its value. Work in and of itself apart from play lacks educative power; it is only as it leads to and increases the power of play that it is of greatest value. Its logical place in education is as a means to an end, not as an end in itself. Play, on the other hand, that does not necessitate some work, that does not need work in order that it may function more fully, has lost most of its educational value. To work in play and to play while working is the ideal combination. Either by itself is dangerous.
Two misconceptions should be mentioned. First, the play spirit advocated as one of the greatest educational factors must not be limited to the merely physical activities, nor should it be considered synonymous with what is easy. This characterization of play as being the aimless trivial physical activities of a little child is a misconception of the whole play tendency. It has already been pointed out that any activity which in itself satisfies, whether that be physical, emotional, or intellectual, is play, and all these phases of human activity show themselves in play first. Also the fact that play does not mean ease of accomplishment has been noted. It is only in the play spirit that the full resources of child or adult are tested. It is only when the activity fully satisfies some need that the individual throws himself whole-souled into it. It is only under the stimulus of the play spirit that all one's energy is spent, and great results, clear, accurate, and far reaching, are obtained. Ease of performance often results in drudgery. To be play, the activity must be suited to the child's capacity, but leave chance for initiative and change and development.
The second misconception is that because present-day educators advocate play in education, they believe that the child should do nothing that he doesn't want to. This is wrong on two accounts. First, it is part of the business of an environment to stimulate—readiness depends partly on stimulation. The child may never play unless the stimulation is forcibly and continually applied. Second, after all it is the result we are most anxious for in education, and that result is an educated adult. By all means let us obtain this result by the most economical and effective method, and that is by use of the play spirit. But if the result cannot be obtained by this means because of the character of civilized ideals, or the difficulties of group education, or lack of capacity of the individual—then surely other methods, even that of drudgery, must be resorted to. The point is, with the goal in mind, adapt the material of education to the needs of the individual child; in other words, use the play spirit so far as is possible—after that gain the rest by any means whatsoever.
So far the discussion has been concerned with the characteristics of the play spirit and its use in connection with the more formal materials of education. However, the free plays of children are valuable in two ways—first, as sources of information as to the particular tendencies ready for exercise at different times, and second, as a means of education in themselves. A knowledge of just which tendencies are most prominent in the plays of a group of children, when they change from "play" to "games," the increase in complexity and organization, the predominance of the intellectual factors,—all this could be of direct service to a teacher in the schoolroom. But it means, to some extent, the observation by the teacher of his particular group of children. Such observation is extremely fruitful. The more vigorously, the more wholeheartedly, the more completely a child plays, other things being equal, the better. A deprivation of opportunity to play, or a loss of any particular type of play, means a loss of the development of certain traits or characteristics. An all-round, well-developed adult can grow only from a child developed in an all-round way because of many-sided play. Hence the value of public playgrounds and of time to play. Hence the danger of the isolated, lonely child, for many plays demand the group. Hence the opportunities and the dangers of supervision of play.
Supervision of play is valuable in so far as it furnishes opportunities and suggestions which develop the elements most worth while in play and which keep play at its highest level, and in so far as it concerns the nature of the individual child, protecting, admonishing, or encouraging, as the case may require. It is dangerous to the child's best good, in so far as it results in domination; for domination will mean, usually, the introduction of plays beyond the child's stage of development and the destruction of the independence and initiative which are two of the most valuable characteristics of free play. Valuable supervision of play is art that must be acquired. To influence, while effacing oneself, to guide, while being one of the players, to have an adult's understanding of the needs of child nature and yet to be one with the children—these are the essentials of the supervision of play.
1. Distinguish between the fighting instinct and the instinctive basis of play.
2. Under what conditions may an activity which we classify as play for a civilized child be called work for a child living under primitive conditions?
3. What kinds of plays are characteristic of different age periods in the life of children?
4. Trace the development of some game played by the older boys in your school from its simpler beginnings in the play of little children to its present complexity.
5. Name the characteristics common to all playful activity.
6. Distinguish between play and drudgery.
7. What is the difference between work and play?
8. To what degree may the activities of the school be made play?
9. Explain why the same activity may be play for one individual, work for another, and drudgery for a third.
10. Why should we seek to make the play element prominent in school activity?
11. When is one most efficient in individual pursuits—when his activity is play, when he works, or when he is a drudge?
12. Under what conditions should we compel children to work, or even to engage in an activity which may involve drudgery?
13. Explain how play may involve the maximum of utilization of the abilities possessed by the individual, rather than a type of activity easy of accomplishment.
14. In what does skill in the supervision of play consist?
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X. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES FOR THE TEACHER
It has been indicated here and there throughout the previous chapters that, despite the fact that there are certain laws governing the various mental traits and processes, still there is variation in the working of those laws. It was pointed out that people differ in kind of memory or imagination in which they excel, in their ability to appreciate, in the speed with which they form habits, and so on. In other words, that boys and girls are not exact duplicates of each other, but that they always differ from each other. Now a knowledge of these differences, their amounts, interrelations, and causes are very necessary for the planning of a school system or for the planning of the education of a particular child. What we plan and how we plan educational undertakings must always be influenced by our opinion as to inborn traits, sex differences, specialization of mental traits, speed of development, the respective power of nature and of nurture. The various plans of promotion and grouping of children found in different cities are in operation because of certain beliefs concerning differences in general mental ability. Coeducation is urged or deplored largely on the ground of belief in the differing abilities of the sexes.
Exact knowledge of just what differences do exist between people and the causes of these differences is important for two reasons. First, in order that the most efficient measures may be taken for the education of the individual, and second, in order that the race as a whole may be made better. Education can only become efficient and economical when we know which differences between people and which achievements of a given person are due to training, and which are due more largely to original equipment or maturity. It is a waste of time on the one hand for education to concern itself with trying to make all children good spellers—if spelling is a natural gift; and on the other hand, it is lack of efficiency for schools to be largely neglecting the moral development of the children, if morality is dependent primarily on education. Exact knowledge, not opinions, along all these lines is necessary if progress is to be made.
The principal causes for individual differences are sex, remote ancestry, near ancestry, maturity, and training. The question to be answered in the discussion of each of these causes is how important a factor is it in the production of differences and just what differences is it responsible for. That men differ from women has always been an accepted fact, but exact knowledge of how much and how they differ has, until recent years, been lacking. Recently quantitative measurement has been made by a number of investigators. In making these investigations two serious difficulties have to be met. First, that the tests measure only the differences brought about by differences in sex, and not by any other cause, such as family or training. This difficulty has been met by taking people of all ages, from all sorts of families, with all kinds of training, the constant factor being the difference in sex. The second difficulty is that of finding groups in which the selection agencies have been the same and equally operative. It would be obviously unfair to compare college men and women, and expect to get a fair result as to sex differences, because college women are a more highly selected group intellectually than the college men. It is the conventional and social demands that are primarily responsible for sending boys to college, while the intellectual impulse is responsible to a greater extent for sending girls. Examination of children in the elementary schools, then, gives a fairer result than of the older men and women. The general results of all the studies made point to the fact that the differences between the sexes are small. Sex is the cause of only a small fraction of the differences between individuals. The total difference of men from men and women from women is almost as great as the difference between men and women, for the distribution curve of woman's ability in any trait overlaps the men's curve to at least half its range. In detail the exact measurements of intellectual abilities show a slight superiority of the women in receptivity and memory, and a slight superiority of the men in control of movement and in thought about concrete mechanical situations. In interests which cannot be so definitely measured, women seem to be more interested in people and men in things. In instinctive equipment women excel in the nursing impulse and men in the fighting impulse. In physical equipment men are stronger and bigger than women. They excel in muscular tests in ability to "spurt," whereas women do better in endurance tests. The male sex seems on the whole to be slightly more variable than the female, i.e., its curve of distribution is somewhat flatter and extends both lower and higher than does that of the female; or, stated another way, men furnish more than their proportion of idiots and of geniuses.
Slight though these differences are, they are not to be disregarded, for sometimes the resulting habits are important. For instance, girls should be better spellers than boys. Boys should excel in physics and chemistry. Women should have more tact than men, whereas men should be more impartial in their judgments. With the same intellectual equipment as women, men should be found more often in positions of prominence because of the strength of the fighting instinct. The geniuses of the world, the leaders in any field, as well as the idiots, should more often be men than women. That these differences do exist, observation as well as experiment prove, but that they are entirely due to essential innate differences in sex is still open to question. Differences in treatment of the sexes in ideals and in training for generation after generation may account for some of the differences noted.
What these differences mean from the standpoint of practice is still another question. Difference in equipment need not mean difference in treatment, nor need identity of equipment necessarily mean identity of training. The kind of education given will have to be determined not only by the nature of the individual, but also by the ideals held for and the efficiency demanded from each sex.
Another cause of the differences existing between individuals is difference in race inheritance. In causing differences in physical traits this factor is prominent. The American Indians have physical traits in common which differentiate them from other races; the same thing is true of the Negroes and the Mongolians. It has always been taken for granted that the same kind of difference between the races existed in mental traits. To measure the mental differences caused by race is an extremely difficult problem. Training, environment, tradition, are such potent factors in confusing the issue. The difficulty is to measure inborn traits, not achievement. Hence the results from actual measurement are very few and are confined to the sensory and sensorimotor traits. Woodworth, in summing up the results of these tests, says, "On the whole, the keenness of the senses seems to be about on a par in the various races of mankind.... If the results could be taken at their face value, they would indicate differences in intelligence between races, giving such groups as the Pygmy and Negrito a low station as compared with most of mankind. The fairness of the test is not, however, beyond question." The generality of this conclusion concerning the differences in intelligence reveals the lack of data. No tests of the higher intellectual processes, such as the ability to analyze, to associate in terms of elements, to formulate new principles, and the like, have, been given. Some anthropologists are skeptical of the existence of any great differences, while others believe that though there is much overlapping, still differences of considerable magnitude do exist. At present we do not know how much of the differences existing between individuals is due to differences in remote ancestry.
Maturity as a cause of differences between individuals gives quite as unsatisfactory results as remote ancestry. Every thoughtful student of children must realize that inner growth, apart from training, has something to do with the changes which take place in a child; that he differs from year to year because of a difference in maturity. This same cause, then, must account to some extent for the differences between individuals of different ages. But just how great a part it plays, what per cent of the difference it accounts for, and what particular traits it affects much or little, no one knows. We say in general that nine-year-old children are more suggestible than six-year-old, and than fourteen-year-old; that the point of view of the fifteen-year-old is different from that of the eleven-year-old; that the power of sense discrimination gradually increases up to about sixteen, and so on. That these facts are true, no one can question, but how far they are due to mere change in maturity and how far to training or to the increase in power of some particular capacity, such as understanding directions, or power of forced attention, is unknown. The studies which have been undertaken along this line have failed in two particulars: first, to distribute the actual changes found from year to year among the three possible causes, maturity, general powers of comprehension and the like, and training; second, to measure the same individuals from year to year. This last error is very common in studies of human nature. It is taken for granted that to examine ten year olds and then eleven year olds and then twelve year olds will give what ten year olds will become in one and two years' time respectively. To test a group of grammar grade children and then a group of high school and then a group of college students will not show the changes in maturity from grammar school to college. The method is quite wrong, for it tests only the ten year olds that stay in school long enough to become twelve year olds; it measures only the very small per cent of the grammar school children who get to college. In other words, it is measuring a more highly selected group and accepting the result obtained from them as true of the entire group. Because of these two serious errors in the investigations our knowledge of the influence of maturity as a cause of individual differences is no better than opinion. Two facts, however, such studies do make clear. First, the supposition that "the increases in ability due to a given amount of progress toward maturity are closely alike for all children save the so-called 'abnormally-precocious' or 'retarded' is false. The same fraction of the total inner development, from zero to adult ability, will produce very unequal results in different children. Inner growth acts differently according to the original nature that is growing. The notion that maturity is the main factor in the differences found amongst school children, so that grading and methods of teaching should be fitted closely to 'stage of growth,' is also false. It is by no means very hard to find seven year olds who can do intellectual work in which one in twenty seventeen year olds would fail."
The question as to how far immediate heredity is a cause of differences found between individuals, can only be answered by measuring how much more alike members of the same family are in a given trait than people picked at random, and then making allowance for similarity in their training. The greater the likenesses between members of the same family, and the greater the differences between members of different families, despite similarities in training, the more can individual differences be traced to differences in ancestry as a controlling cause. The answer to this question has been obtained along four different lines: First, likenesses in physical traits; second, likenesses in particular abilities; third, likenesses in achievement along intellectual and moral lines; fourth, greater likenesses between twins, than ordinary siblings. In physical traits, such as eye color, hair color, cephalic index, height, family resemblance is very strong (the coefficient of correlation being about .5), and here training can certainly have had no effect. In particular abilities, such as ability in spelling, the stage reached by an individual is due primarily to his inheritance, the ability being but little influenced by the differences in home or school training that commonly exist. In general achievement, Galton's results show that eminence runs in families, that one has more than three hundred times the chance of being eminent if one has a brother, father, or son eminent, than the individual picked at random. Wood's investigation in royal families points to the same influence of ancestry in determining achievement. The studies of the Edwards family on one hand and the so-called Kallikak family on the other, point to the same conclusion. Twins are found to be twice as much alike in the traits tested as other brothers and sisters. Though the difficulty of discounting the effect of training in all these studies has been great, yet in every case the investigators have taken pains to do so. The fact that the investigations along such different lines all bear out the same conclusion, namely, that intellectual differences are largely due to differences in family inheritance, weighs heavily in favor of its being a correct one.
The fifth factor that might account for individual differences is environment. By environment we mean any influence brought to bear on the individual. The same difficulty has been met in attempting to measure the effect of environment that was met in trying to measure the effect of inner nature—namely, that of testing one without interference from the other. The attempts to measure accurately the effect of any one element in the environment have not been successful. No adequate way of avoiding the complications involved by different natures has been found. One of the greatest errors in the method of working with this problem has been found just here. It has been customary when the effect of a certain element in the environment is to be ascertained to investigate people who have been subject to that training or who are in the process of training, thus ignoring the selective influence of the factor itself in original nature. For instance, to study the value of high school training we compare those in training with those who have never had any; if the question is the value of manual training or Latin, again the comparison is made between those who have had it and those who haven't. To find out the influence of squalor and misery, people living in the slums are compared with those from a better district. In each case the fact is ignored that the original natures of the two groups examined are different before the influence of the element in question was brought to bear. Why do some children go to high school and others not? Why do some choose classical courses and some manual training courses? Why are some people found in the slums for generations? The answer in each case is the same—the original natures are different. It isn't the slums make the people nearly so often as it is the people make the slums. It isn't training in Latin that makes the more capable man, but the more intellectual students, because of tradition and possibly enjoyment of language study, choose the Latin. It is unfair to measure a factor in the environment and give it credit or discredit for results, when those results are also due to original nature as well, which has not been allowed for. It must be recognized by all those working in this field that, after all, man to some extent selects his own environment. In the second place, it must be remembered that the environment will influence folks differently according as their natures are different. There can be no doubt that environment is accountable for some individual differences, but just which ones and to what extent are questions to which at present the answers are unsatisfactory.
The investigations which have been carried on agree that environment is not so influential a cause for individual differences in intellect as is near ancestry. One rather interesting line of evidence can be quoted as an illustration. If individual differences in achievement are due largely to lack of training or to poor training, then to give the same amount and kind of training to all the individuals in a group should reduce the differences. If such practice does not reduce the differences, then it is not reasonable to suppose that the differences were caused in the first place by differences in training. As a matter of fact, equalizing training increases the differences. The superior man becomes more superior, the inferior is left further behind than ever. A common occurrence in school administration bears out this conclusion reached by experimental means. The child who skips a grade is ready at the end of three years to skip again, and the child who fails a grade is likely at the end of three years to fail again. Though environment seems of little influence as compared with near ancestry in determining intellectual ability per se, yet it has considerable influence in determining the line along which this ability is to manifest itself. The fact that between 1840-44, 9.4 per cent of the college men went into teaching as a profession and 37.5 per cent into the ministry, while between 1890-94, 25.4 per cent chose the former and only 14 per cent the latter, can be accounted for only on the basis of environmental influence of some kind.
Another fact concerning the influence of environment is that it is very much more effective in influencing morality than intellect. Morality is the outcome of the proper direction of capacities and tendencies possessed by the individual, and therefore is extremely susceptible to environmental influences. We are all familiar with the differences in moral standards of different social groups. One boy may become a bully and another considerate of the rights of others, one learns to steal and another to be honest, one to lie and another to be truthful, because of the influence of their environments rather than on account of differences in their original natures. We are beginning to recognize the importance of environment in moral training in the provisions made to protect children from immoral influences, in the opportunities afforded for the right sort of recreation, and even in the removal of children from the custody of their parents when the environment is extremely unfavorable.
Though changes in method and ideals cannot reduce the differences between individuals in the intellectual field to any marked extent, such changes can raise the level of achievement of the whole group. For instance, more emphasis on silent reading may make the reading ability of a whole school 20 per cent better, while leaving the distance between the best and worst reader in the school the same. Granting that heredity, original nature, is the primary cause of individual differences in intellect (aside from those sex differences mentioned) there remains for environment, education in all its forms, the tremendous task of: First, providing conditions favorable for nervous health and growth; second, providing conditions which stimulate useful capacities and inhibit futile or harmful capacities; third, providing conditions which continually raise the absolute achievement of the group and of the race; fourth, providing conditions that will meet the varying original equipments; fifth, assuming primary responsibility for development along moral and social lines.
Concerning those individual differences of which heredity is the controlling cause, two facts are worthy of note. First, that human nature is very highly specialized and that inheritance may be in terms of special abilities or capacities. For instance, artistic, musical, or linguistic ability, statesmanship, power in the field of poetry, may be handed down from one generation to the next. This also means that two brothers may be extremely alike along some lines and extremely different along others. Second, that there seems to be positive combinations between certain mental traits, whereby the presence of one insures the presence of the other to a greater degree than chance would explain. For instance, the quick learner is slow in forgetting, imagery in one field implies power to image in others, a high degree of concentration goes with superior breadth, efficiency in artistic lines is more often correlated with superiority in politics or generalship or science than the reverse, ability to deal with abstract data implies unusual power to deal with the concrete situation. In fact, as far as exact measures go, negative correlations between capacities, powers, efficiencies, are extremely rare, and, when they occur, can be traced to the influence of some environmental factor.
Individuals differ from each other to a much greater degree than has been allowed for in our public education. The common school system is constructed on the theory that children are closely similar in their abilities, type of mental make-up, and capacities in any given line. Experimentation shows each one of these presuppositions to be false. So far as general ability goes, children vary from the genius to the feeble-minded with all the grades between, even in the same school class. This gradation is a continuous one—there are no breaks in the human race. Children cannot be grouped into the very bright, bright, mediocre, poor, very poor, failures—each group being distinct from any other. The shading from one to the other of these classes is gradual, there is no sharp break. Not only is this true, but a child may be considered very bright along one line and mediocre along another. Brilliancy or poverty in intellect does not act as a unit and apply to all lives equally. The high specialization of mental powers makes unevenness in achievement the common occurrence. Within any school grade that has been tested, even when the gradings are as close as those secured by term promotions, it has been found in any subject there are children who do from two to five times as well as others, and from two to five times as much as others. Of course this great variation means an overlapping of grades on each side. In Dr. Bonser's test of 757 children in reasoning he found that 90 per cent of the 6A pupils were below the best pupils of 4A grade and that 4 per cent of 6A pupils were below the mid-pupils of the 4A, and that the best of the 4A pupils made a score three times as high as the worst pupils of 6A. Not only is this tremendous difference in ability found among children of the same class, but the same difference exists in rate of development. Some children can cover the same ground in one half or one third the time as others and do it better. Witness the children already quoted who, skipping a grade, were ready at the end of three years to skip again. Variability, not uniformity, is what characterizes the abilities and rate of intellectual growth of children in the schools, and these differences, as has already been pointed out, are caused primarily by a difference in original nature.
There is also great difference between the general mental make-up of children—a difference in type. There is the child who excels in dealing with abstract ideas. He usually has power also in dealing with the concrete, but his chief interest is in the abstract. He is the one who does splendid work in mathematics, formal grammar, the abstract phases of the sciences. Then there is the child who is a thinker too, but his best work is done when he is dealing with a concrete situation. Unusual or involved applications of principles disturb him. So long as his work is couched in terms of the concrete, he can succeed, but if that is replaced by the x, y, z elements, he is prone to fail. There is another type of child—the one who has the executive ability, the child of action. True, he thinks, too, but his forte is in control of people and of things. He is the one who manages the athletic team, runs the school paper, takes charge of the elections, and so on. For principles to be grasped he must be able to put them into practice. The fourth type is the feeling type, the child who excels in appreciative power. As has been urged so many times before, these types have boundaries that are hazy and ill defined; they overlap in many cases. Some children are of a well-defined mixed type, and most children have something of each of the four abilities characteristic of the types. Still it is true that in looking over a class of children these types emerge, not pure, but controlled by the dominant characteristics mentioned.
The same variation is found among any group of children if they are tested along one line, such as memory. Some have desultory, some rote, some logical memories; some have immediate memories, others the permanent type. In imagery, some have principally productive imagination, others the matter-of-fact reproductive; some deal largely with object images that are vivid and clear-cut, others fail almost entirely with this type, but use word images with great facility. In conduct, some are hesitating and uncertain, others just the reverse; some very open to suggestions, others scarcely touched at all by it; some can act in accordance with principle, others only in terms of particular associations with a definite situation. So one might run the whole gamut of human traits, and in each one any group of individuals will vary: in attention, in thinking, in ideals, in habits, in interests, in sense discrimination, in emotions, and so on. This is one of the greatest contributions of experimental psychology of the past ten years, the tremendous differences between people along all lines, physical as well as mental.
It is lack of recognition of such differences that makes possible such a list of histories of misfits as Swift quotes in his chapter on Standards of Human Power in "Mind in the Making." Individual differences exist, education cannot eliminate them, they are innate, due to original nature. Education that does not recognize them and plan for them is wasteful and, what is worse, is criminal.
The range of ability possessed by children of the same grade in the subjects commonly taught seems not always to be clear in the minds of teachers. It will be discussed at greater length in another chapter, but it is important for the consideration of individual differences to present some data at this time. If we rate the quality of work done in English composition from 10 to 100 per cent, being careful to evaluate as accurately as possible the merit of the composition written, we will find for a seventh and an eighth grade a condition indicated by the following table:
========================================== QUALITY OF COMPOSITION GRADES 7 8 ————————————————————— No. of Pupils Rated at 10 2 1 Rated at 20 6 6 Rated at 30 8 8 Rated at 40 7 8 Rated at 50 2 4 Rated at 60 1 1 Rated at 70 1 1 Rated at 80 1 1 Rated at 90 1 1 ==========================================
The table reads as follows: two pupils in the seventh grade and one in the eighth wrote compositions rated at 10; six seventh-grade and six eighth-grade pupils wrote compositions rated at 20, and so on for the whole table.
A similar condition of affairs is indicated if we ask how many of a given type of addition problems are solved correctly in eight minutes by a fifth- and a sixth-grade class.
============================================= NUMBER OF GRADES PROBLEMS 5 6 ——————————————————————- No. of Pupils 0 2 3 1 6 6 2 6 6 3 6 6 4 4 5 5 4 5 6 3 4 7 1 2 8 1 1 9 1 1 =============================================
In like manner, if we measure the quality of work done in penmanship for a fifth and sixth grade, with a system of scoring that ranks the penmanship in equal steps from a quality which, is ranked four up to a quality which is ranked eighteen, we find the following results:
=============================================== QUALITY OF PENMANSHIP GRADES 5 6 ———————————————————————- No. of Pupils Rated at 4 5 6 Rated at 5 1 1 Rated at 6 0 0 Rated at 7 2 4 Rated at 8 10 4 Rated at 9 12 1 Rated at 10 3 6 Rated at 11 3 8 Rated at 12 3 3 Rated at 13 1 2 Rated at 14 1 1 Rated at 15 0 1 Rated at 16 1 1 Rated at 17 0 0 Rated at 18 0 0 ===============================================
Results similar to those recorded above will be found if any accurate measurement is made of the knowledge possessed by children in history or in geography, or of the ability to apply or derive principles in physics or in chemistry, or of the knowledge of vocabulary in Latin or in German, and the like.
All such facts indicate clearly the necessity for differentiating our work for the group of children who are classified as belonging to one grade. Under the older and simpler form of school organization, the one-room rural school, it was not uncommon for children to recite in one class in arithmetic, in another in geography or history, and in possibly still another in English. In our more highly organized school systems, with the attempt to have children pass regularly from grade to grade at each promotion period, we have in some measure provided for individual differences through allowing children to skip a grade, or not infrequently by having them repeat the work of a grade. In still other cases an attempt has been made to adapt the work of the class to the needs and capacities of the children by dividing any class group into two or more groups, especially in those subjects in which children seem to have greatest difficulty. Teachers who are alive to the problem presented have striven to adjust their work to different members of the class by varying the assignments, and in some cases by excusing from the exercises in which they are already proficient the abler pupils.
Whatever adjustment the school may be able to make in terms of providing special classes for those who are mentally or physically deficient, or for those who are especially capable, there will always be found in any given group a wide variation in achievement and in capacity. Group teaching and individual instruction will always be required of teachers who would adapt their work to the varying capacities of children. A period devoted to supervised study during which those children who are less able may receive special help, and those who are of exceptional ability be expected to make unusual preparation both in extent and in quality of work done, may contribute much to the efficiency of the school. As paradoxical as the statement may seem, it is true that the most retarded children in our school systems are the brightest. Expressed in another way, it can be proved that the more capable children have already achieved in the subjects in which they are taught more than those who are tow or three grades farther advanced. Possibly the greatest contribution which teachers can make to the development of efficiency upon the part of the children with whom they work is to be found in special attention which is given to capable children with respect to both the quantity and quality of work demanded of them, together with provision for having them segregated in special classes or passed through the school system with greater rapidity than is now common. In an elementary school with which the writer is acquainted, and in which there were four fifth grades, it was discovered during the past year that in one of these fifth grades in which the brighter children had been put they had achieved more in terms of ability to solve problems in arithmetic, in their knowledge of history and geography, in the quality of English composition they wrote, and the like, than did the children in any one of the sixth grades. In this school this particular fifth grade was promoted to the seventh grade for the following year. Many such examples could be found in schools organized with more than one grade at work on the same part of the school course, if care were taken to segregate children in terms of their capacity. And even where there is only one teacher per grade, or where one teacher teaches two or three grades, it should be found possible constantly to accelerate the progress of children of more than ordinary ability.
The movement throughout the United States for the organization of junior high schools (these schools commonly include the seventh, eighth, and ninth school years) is to be looked upon primarily as an attempt to adjust the work of our schools to the individual capacities of boys and girls and to their varying vocational outlook. Such a school, if it is to meet this demand for adjustment to individual differences, must offer a variety of courses. Among the courses offered in a typical junior high school is one which leads directly to the high school. In this course provision is made for the beginning of a foreign language, of algebra, and, in some cases, of some other high school subject during the seventh and eighth years. In another course emphasis is placed upon work in industrial or household arts in the expectation that work in these fields may lead to a higher degree of efficiency in later vocational training, and possibly to the retention of children during this period who might otherwise see little or no meaning in the traditional school course. The best junior high schools are offering in the industrial course a variety of shop work. In some cases machine shop practice, sheet metal working, woodworking, forging, printing, painting, electrical wiring, and the like are offered for boys; and cooking, sewing, including dressmaking and designing, millinery, drawing, with emphasis upon design and interior decoration, music, machine operating, pasting, and the like are provided for girls. Another type of course has provided for training which looks toward commercial work, even though it is recognized that the most adequate commercial training may require a longer period of preparation. In some schools special work in agriculture is offered.
Our schools cannot be considered as satisfactorily organized until we make provision for every boy or girl to work up to the maximum of his capacity. The one thing that a teacher cannot do is to make all of his pupils equal in achievement. Whatever adjustment may have been made in terms of special classes or segregation in terms of ability, the teacher must always face the problem of varying the assignment to meet the capacities of individual children, and she ought, wherever it is possible, especially to encourage the abler children to do work commensurate with their ability, and to provide, as far as is possible, for the rapid advancement of these children through the various stages of the school system.
1. What are the principal causes of differences in abilities or in achievement among school children?
2. What, if any, of the differences noticed among children may be attributed to sex?
3. Are any of the sex differences noticeable in the achievements of the school children with whom you are acquainted?
4. To what extent is maturity a cause of individual differences?
5. What evidence is available to show the fallacy of the common idea that children of the same age are equal in ability?
6. How important is heredity in determining the achievement of men and women?
7. To what extent, if any, would you be interested in the immediate heredity of the children in your class? Why?
8. To what extent is the environment in which children live responsible for their achievements in school studies?
9. What may be expected in the way of achievement from two children of widely different heredity but of equal training?
10. For what factor in education is the environment most responsible? Why?
11. If you grant that original nature is the primary cause of individual differences in intellectual achievements, how would you define the work of the school?
12. Why are you not justified in grouping children as bright, ordinary, and stupid?
13. Will a boy who has unusual ability in music certainly be superior in all other subjects?
14. Why are children who skip a grade apt to be able to skip again at the end of two or three years?
15. Are you able to distinguish differences in type of mind (or general mental make-up) among the children in your classes? Give illustrations.
16. What changes in school organization would you advocate for the sake of adjusting the teaching done to the varying capacities of children?
17. How should a teacher adjust his work to the individual differences in capacity or in achievement represented by the usual class group?
* * * * *
XI. THE DEVELOPMENT OF MORAL SOCIAL CONDUCT
Morality has been defined in many ways. It has been called "a regulation and control of immediate promptings of impulses in conformity with some prescribed conduct"; as "the organization of activity with reference to a system of fundamental values." Dewey says, "Interest in community welfare, an interest that is intellectual and practical, as well as emotional—an interest, that is to say, in perceiving whatever makes for social order and progress, and in carrying these principles into execution—is the moral habit." Palmer defines it as "the choice by the individual of habits of conduct that are for the good of the race." All these definitions point to control on the part of the individual as one essential of morality.
Morality is not, then, a matter primarily of mere conduct. It involves conduct, but the essence of morality lies deeper than the act itself; motive, choice, are involved as well. Mere law-abiding is not morality in the strict sense of the word. One may keep the laws merely as a matter of blind habit. A prisoner in jail keeps the laws. A baby of four keeps the laws, but in neither case could such conduct be called moral. In neither of these cases do we find "control" by the individual of impulses, nor "conscious choice" of conduct. In the former compulsion was the controlling force, and in the second blind habit based on personal satisfaction. Conduct which outwardly conforms to social law and social progress is unmoral rather than moral. A moment's consideration will suffice to convince any one that the major part of conduct is of this non-moral type. This is true of adults and necessarily true of children. As Hall says, most of the supposedly moral conduct of the majority of men is blind habit, not thoughtful choosing. In so far as we are ruled by custom, by tradition, in so far as we do as the books or the preacher says, or do as we see others do, without principles to guide us, without thinking, to that extent the conduct is likely to be non-moral. This is the characteristic reaction of the majority of people. We believe as our fathers believed, we vote the same ticket, hold in horror the same practices, look askance on the same doctrines, cling to the same traditions. Morality, on the other hand, is rationalized conduct. Now this non-moral conduct is valuable so far as it goes. It is a conservative force, making for stability, but it has its dangers. It is antagonistic to progress. So long as the conditions surrounding the non-moral individual remain unchanged, he will be successful in dealing with them, but if conditions change, if he is confronted by a new situation, if strong temptation comes, he has nothing with which to meet it, for his conduct was blind. It is the person whose conduct is non-moral that suffers collapse on the one hand, or becomes a bigot on the other, when criticism attacks what he held as true or right. Morality requires that men have a reason for the faith that is in them.
In the second place, morality is conduct. Ideals, ideas, wishes, desires, all may lead to morality, but in so far as they are not expressed in conduct, to that extent they do not come under the head of morality. One may express the sublimest idea, may claim the highest ideals, and be immoral. Conduct is the only test of morality, just as it is the ultimate test of character. Not only is morality judged in terms of conduct, but it is judged according as the conduct is consistent. "Habits of conduct" make for morality or immorality. It is not the isolated act of heroism that makes a man moral, or the single unsocial act that makes a man immoral. The particular act may be moral or immoral, and the person be just the reverse. It is the organization of activity, it is the habits a man has that places him in one category or the other.
In the third place, morality is a matter of individual responsibility. It is "choice by the individual," the "perceiving whatever makes for social order and progress." No one can choose for another, no one can perceive for another. The burden of choosing for the good of the group rests on the individual, it cannot be shifted to society or the Church, or any other institution. Each individual is moral or not according as he lives up to the light that he has, according as he carries into execution principles that are for the good of his race. A particular act, then, may be moral for one individual and immoral for another, and non-moral for still another.
In the third place, morality is a matter of individual responsibility. It is "choice be the individual," the "perceiving whatever makes for social order and progress." No one can choose for another, no one can perceive for another. The burden of Choosing for the good of the group rests on the individual, it cannot be shifted to society or the Church, or any other institution. Each individual is moral or not according as he lives up to the light that he has, according as he carries into execution principles that are for the good of his race. A particular act, then, may be moral for one individual and immoral for another, and non-moral for still another.
To go off into the forest to die if one is diseased may be a moral act for a savage in central Africa; but for a civilized man to do so would probably be immoral because of his greater knowledge. To give liquor to babies to quiet them may be a non-moral act on the part of ignorant immigrants from Russia; but for a trained physician to do so would be immoral. Morality, then, is a personal matter, and the responsibility for it rests on the individual.
Of course this makes possible the setting up of individual opinion as to what is for the good of the group in opposition to tradition and custom. This is, of course, dangerous if it is mere opinion or if it is carried to an extreme. Few men have the gift of seeing what makes for social well-being beyond that of the society of thoughtful people of their time. And yet if a man has the insight, if his investigations point to a greater good for the group from doing something which is different from the standards held by his peers, then morality requires that he do his utmost to bring about such changes. If it is borne in mind that every man is the product of his age and that it is evolution, not revolution, that is constructive, this essential of true morality will not seem so dangerous. All the reformers the world has ever seen, all the pioneers in social service, have been men who, living up to their individual responsibility, have acted as they believed for society's best good in ways that were not in accord with the beliefs of the majority of their time. Shirking responsibility, not living up to what one believes is right, is immoral just as truly as stealing from one's neighbor.
The fourth essential in moral conduct is that it be for the social good. It is the governing of impulses, the inhibition of desires that violate the good of the group, and the choice of conduct that forwards its interests. This does not mean that the group and the individual are set over against each other, and the individual must give way. It means, rather, that certain impulses, tendencies, motives, of the individual are chosen instead of others; it means that the individual only becomes his fullest self as he becomes a social being; it means that what is for the good of the group in the long run is for the good of the units that make up that group. Morality, then, is a relative term. What is of highest moral value in one age may be immoral in another because of change in social conditions. As society progresses, as different elements come to the front because of the march of civilization, so the acts that are detrimental to the good of the whole must change. To-day slander and stealing a man's good name are quite as immoral as stealing his property. Acts that injure the mental and spiritual development of the group are even more immoral than those which interfere with the physical well-being.
A strong will is not necessarily indicative of a good character. A strong will may be directed towards getting what gives pleasure to oneself, irrespective of the effect on other people. It is the goal, the purpose with which it is exercised, that makes a man with a strong will a moral man or an immoral man. Only when one's will is used to put into execution those principles that will bring about social progress is it productive of a good character.
Thus it is seen that morality can be discussed only in connection with group activity. It is the individual as a part of a group, acting in connection with it, that makes the situation a moral one. Individual morality is discussed by some authors, but common opinion limits the term to the use that has been discussed in the preceding paragraphs.
If social well-being is taken in its broadest sense, then all moral behavior is social, and all social behavior comes under one of the three types of morality. Training for citizenship, for social efficiency, for earning a livelihood, all have a moral aspect. It is only as the individual is trained to live a complete life as one of a group that he can be trained to be fully moral, and training for complete social living must include training in morality. Hence for the remainder of this discussion the two terms will be considered as synonymous. We hear it sometimes said, "training in morals and manners," as if the two were distinct, and yet a full, realization of what is for social betterment along emotional and intellectual lines must include a realization of the need of manners. Of course there are degrees of morality or immorality according as the act influences society much or little—all crimes are not equally odious, nor all virtues equally commendable, but any act that touches the well-being of the group must come under this category.
From the foregoing paragraph, the logical conclusion would be that there is no instinct or inborn tendency that is primarily and distinctly moral as over against those that are social. That is the commonly accepted belief to-day. There is no moral instinct. Morality finds its root in the original nature of man, but not in a single moral instinct. It is, on the other hand, the outgrowth of a number of instincts all of which have been listed under the head of the social instinct. Man has in his original equipment tendencies that will make him a moral individual if they are developed, but they are complex, not simple. Some of these social tendencies which are at the root of moral conduct are gregariousness, desire for approval, dislike of scorn, kindliness, attention to human beings, imitation, and others. Now, although man possesses these tendencies as a matter of original equipment, he also possesses tendencies which are opposed to these, tendencies which lead to the advancement of self, rather than the well-being of the group. Some of these are fighting, mastery, rivalry, jealousy, ownership. Which of these sets of tendencies is developed and controls the life of the individual is a matter of training and environment. In the last chapter it was pointed out that morality was much more susceptible to environmental influences than intellectual achievement, because it was much more a direction and guidance of capacities and tendencies possessed by every one. One's character is largely a product of one's environment. In proof of this, read the reports of reform schools, and the like. Children of criminal parents, removed from the environment of crime, grow up into moral persons. The pair of Jukes who left the Juke clan lost their criminal habits and brought up a family of children who were not immoral. Education cannot produce geniuses, but it can produce men and women whose chief concern is the well-being of the group.
From a psychological point of view the "choice by the individual of habits of conduct that are for the good of the group" involves three considerations: First, the elements implied in such conduct; second, the stages of development; third, the laws governing this development. First, moral conduct involves the use of habits, but these must be rational habits, so it involves the power to think and judge in order to choose. But thinking that shall result in the choice of habits that are for the well-being of the group must use knowledge. The individual must have facts and standards at his disposal by means of which he may evaluate the possible lines of action presented. Further, an individual may know intellectually what is right and moral and yet not care. The interest, the emotional appeal, may be lacking, hence he must have ideals to which he has given his allegiance, which will force him to put into practice what his knowledge tells him is right. And then, having decided what is for the social good and having the desire to carry it out, the moral man must be able to put it into execution. He must have the "will power." Morality, then, is an extremely complex matter, involving all the powers of the human being, intellectual, emotional, and volitional—involving the cooeperation of heredity and environment. It is evident that conduct that is at so high a level, involving experience, powers of judgment, and control, cannot be characteristic of the immature individual, but must come after years of growth, if at all. Therefore we find stages of development towards moral conduct.
The first stage of development, which lasts up into the pre-adolescent years, is the non-moral stage. The time when a child may conform outwardly to moral law, but only as a result of blind habit—not as a result of rational choice. It is then that the little child conforms to his environment, reflecting the characters of the people by whom he is surrounded. Right to him means what those about him approve and what brings him satisfaction. If stealing and lying meet with approval from the people about him, they are right to him. To steal and be caught is wrong to the average child of the streets, because that brings punishment and annoyance. He has no standards of judging other than the example of others and his own satisfaction and annoyance. The non-moral period, then, is characterized by the formation of habits—which outwardly conform to moral law, or are contrary to it, according as his environment directs.
The need to form habits that do conform, that are for the social good, is evident. By having many habits of this kind formed in early childhood, truthfulness, consideration for others, respect for poverty, promptness, regularity, taking responsibility, and so on, the dice are weighted in favor of the continuation of such conduct when reason controls. The child has then only to enlarge his view, build up his principles in accord with conduct already in operation—he needs only to rationalize what he already possesses. On the other hand, if during early years his conduct violates moral law, he is in the grip of habits of great strength which will result in two dangers. He may be blind to the other side, he may not realize how his conduct violates the laws of social progress; or, knowing, he may not care enough to put forth the tremendous effort necessary to break these habits and build up the opposite. From the standpoint of conduct this non-moral period is the most important one in the life of the child. In it the twig is bent. To urge that a child cannot understand and therefore should be excused for all sorts of conduct simply evades the issue. He is forming habits—that cannot be prevented; the question is, Are those habits in line with the demands of social efficiency or are they in violation of it?
But character depends primarily on deliberate choice. We dare not rely on blind habit alone to carry us through the crises of social and spiritual adjustment. There will arise the insistent question as to whether the habitual presupposition is right. Occasions will occur when several possible lines of conduct suggest themselves; what kind of success will one choose, what kind of pleasure? Choice, personal choice, will be forced upon the individual. This problem does not usually grow acute until early adolescence, although it may along some lines present itself earlier. When it appears will depend to a large extent on the environment. For some people in some directions it never comes. It should come gradually and spontaneously. This period is the period of transition, when old habits are being scrutinized, when standards are being formulated and personal responsibility is being realized, when ideals are made vital and controlling. It may be a period of storm and stress when the youth is in emotional unrest; when conduct is erratic and not to be depended on; when there is reaction against authority of all kinds. These characteristics are unfortunate and are usually the result of unwise treatment during the first period. If, on the other hand, the period of transition is prepared for during the preadolescent years by giving knowledge, opportunities for self-direction and choice, the change should come normally and quietly. The transition period should be characterized by emphasis upon personal responsibility for conduct, by the development of social ideals, and by the cementing of theory and practice. This period is an ever recurring one.
The transition period is followed by the period of true morality during which the conduct chosen becomes habit. The habits characteristic of this final period are different from the habits of the non-moral period, in that they have their source in reason, whereas those of the early period grew out of instincts. This is the period of most value, the period of steady living in accordance with standards and ideals which have been tested by reason and found to be right. The transition period is wasteful and uncertain. True morality is the opposite. But so long as growth in moral matters goes on there is a continuous change from transition period to truly moral conduct and back again to a fresh transition period and again a change to morality of a still higher order. Each rationalized habit but paves the way for one still higher. Morality, then, should be a continual evolution from level to level. Only so is progress in the individual life maintained.
Morality, then, requires the inhibition of some instincts and the perpetuation of others, the formation of habits and ideals, the development of the power to think and judge, the power to react to certain abstractions such as ought, right, duty, and so on, the power to carry into execution values accepted. The general laws of instinct, of habit, the response by piecemeal association, the laws of attention and appreciation, are active in securing these responses that we call moral, just as they are operative in securing other responses that do not come under this category. It is only as these general psychological laws are carried out sufficiently that stable moral conduct is secured. Any violation of these laws invalidates the result in the moral field just as it would in any other. There is not one set of principles governing moral conduct and another set governing all other types of conduct. The same general laws govern both. This being true, there is no need of discussing in detail the operation of laws controlling moral conduct—that has all been covered in the previous chapters. However, there are some suggestions which should be borne in mind in the application of these laws to this field.
First, it is a general principle that habits, to be fixed and stable, must be followed by satisfactory results and that working along the opposite line, that of having annoyance follow a lapse in the conduct, is uneconomical and unreliable. This principle applies particularly to moral habits. Truth telling, bravery, obedience, generosity, thought for others, church going, and so on must be followed by positive satisfaction, if they are to be part of the warp and woof of life. Punishing falsehood, selfishness, cowardice, and so on is not enough, for freedom from supervision will usually mean rejection of such forced habits. A child must find that it pays to be generous; that he is happier when he cooeperates with others than when he does not. Positive satisfaction should follow moral conduct. Of course this satisfaction must vary in type with the age and development of the child, from physical pleasure occasioned by an apple as a reward for self-control at table to the satisfaction which the consciousness of duty well done brings to the adolescent.
Second, the part played by suggestion in bringing about moral habits and ideals must be recognized. The human personalities surrounding the child are his most influential teachers in this line. This influence of personalities begins when the child is yet a baby. Reflex imitation first, and later conscious imitation plus the feeling of dependence which a little child has for the adults in his environment, results in the child reflecting to a large extent the characters of those about him. Good temper, stability, care for others, self-control, and many other habits; respect for truth, for the opinion of others, and many other ideals, are unconsciously absorbed by the child in his early years. Example not precept, actions not words, are the controlling forces in moral education. Hence the great importance of the characters of a child's companions, friends, and teachers, to say nothing of his parents. Next to personalities, theaters, moving pictures, and books, all have great suggestive power.
Third, there is always a danger that theory become divorced from practice, and this is particularly true here because morality is conduct. Knowing what is right is one thing, doing it is another, and knowing does not result in doing unless definite connections are made between the two. Instruction in morals may have but little effect on conduct. It is only as the knowledge of what is right and good comes in connection with social situations when there is the call for action that true morality can be gained. Mere classroom instruction cannot insure conduct. It is only as the family and the school become more truly social institutions, where group activity such as one finds in life is the dominant note, that we can hope to have morality and not ethics, ideals and not passive appreciation, as a result of our teaching.
Fourth, it is without question true that in so far as the habits fixed are "school habits" or "Sunday habits," or any other special type of habits, formed only in connection with special situations, to that extent we have no reason to expect moral conduct in the broader life situations. The habits formed are those that will be put into practice, and they are the only ones we are sure of. Because a child is truthful in school, prompt in attendance, polite to his teacher, and so on is no warrant that he will be the same on the playground or on the street. Because a child can think out a problem in history or mathematics is no warrant that he will therefore think out moral problems. The only sure way is to see to it that he forms many useful habits out of school as well as in, that he has opportunity to think out moral problems as well as problems in school subjects.
Fifth, individual differences must not be forgotten in moral training. Individual differences in suggestibility will influence the use of this factor in habit formation. Individual differences in power of appreciation will influence the formation of ideals. Differences in interest in books will result in differing degrees of knowledge. Differences in maturity will mean that certain children in a class are ready for facts concerning sex, labor and capital, crime, and so on, long before other children in the same class should have such knowledge. Differences in thinking power will determine efficiency in moral situations just as in others.
The more carefully we consider the problem of moral social conduct, the more apparent it becomes that the work of the school can be modified so as to produce more significant results than are commonly now secured. Indeed, it may be contended that in some respects the activities of the school operate to develop an attitude which is largely individualistic, competitive, and, if not anti-social, at least non-social. Although we may not expect that the habits and attitudes which are developed in the school will entirely determine the life led outside, yet one may not forget that a large part of the life of children is spent under school supervision. As children work in an atmosphere of cooeperation, and as they form habits of helpfulness and openmindedness, we may expect that in some degree these types of activity will persist, especially in their association with each other. In a school which is organized to bring about the right sort of moral social conduct we ought to expect that children would grow in their power to accept responsibility for each other. The writer knows of a fourth grade in which during the past year a boy was absent from the room after recess. The teacher, instead of sending the janitor, or she herself going to find the boy, asked the class what they were going to do about it, and suggested to them their responsibility for maintaining the good name which they had always borne as a group. Two of the more mature boys volunteered to go and find the boy who was absent. When they brought him into the room a little while later, they remarked to the teacher in a most matter-of-fact way, "We do not think that he will stay out after recess again." In the corridor of an elementary school the writer saw during the past year two boys sitting on a table before school hours in the morning. The one was teaching the multiplication tables to the other. They were both sixth-grade pupils,—the one a boy who had for some reason or other never quite thoroughly learned his tables. The teacher had suggested that somebody might help him, and a boy had volunteered to come early to school in order that he might teach the boy who was backward. A great many teachers have discovered that the strongest motive which they can find for good work in the field of English is to be found in providing an audience, both for the reading or story-telling, and for the English composition. The idea which prevails is that if one is to read, he ought to read well enough to entertain others. If one has enjoyed a story, he may, if he prepares himself sufficiently well, tell it to the class or to some other group.
Much more emphasis on the undertakings in the attempt to have children accept responsibility, and to engage in a type of activity which has a definite moral social value, is to be found in the schools in which children are responsible for the morning exercises, or for publishing a school paper, or for preparing a school festival. One of the most notable achievements in this type of activity which the writer has ever known occurred in a school in which a group of seventh-grade children were thought to be particularly incompetent. The teachers had almost despaired of having them show normal development, either intellectually or socially. After a conference of all of the teachers who knew the members of this group, it was decided to allow them to prepare a patriot's day festival. The idea among those teachers who had failed with this group was that if the children had a large responsibility, they would show a correspondingly significant development. The children responded to the motive which was provided, became earnest students of history in order that they might find a dramatic situation, and worked at their composition when they came to write their play, some of them exercising a critical as well as a creative faculty which no one had known that they possessed. But possibly the best thing about the whole situation was that every member of the class found something to do in their cooeperative enterprise. Some members of the class were engaged in building and in decorating the stage scenery; others were responsible for costumes; those who were strong in music devoted themselves to this field. The search for a proper dramatic situation in history and the writing of the play have already been suggested. The staging of the play and its presentation to a large group of parents and other interested patrons of the school required still further specialization and ability. Out of it all came a realization of the possibility of accomplishing great things when all worked together for the success of a common enterprise. When the festival day came, the most common statement heard in the room on the part of the parents and others interested in the work of the children was expressed by one who said: "This is the most wonderful group of seventh-grade children that I have ever seen. They are as capable as most high school boys and girls." It is to be recalled that this was the group in whom the teachers originally had little faith, and who had sometimes been called in their school a group of misfits.