What Is Education?

Paperback / softback
This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1915. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER III THE DOCTRINE OF GENERAL DISCIPLINE' What this doctrine has cost and why it sticks. If knowledge-getting is the wise and purposeful selection from the infinity of facts and relations which exist of those which make a serious difference to life, it would seem that education owes its greatest duty to that process. But no, says one army of educators; education's first duty is to form and not to inform the mind. This is the centuries-old doctrine of formal discipline. Of it we are indeed justified in complaining, as did John of Salisbury of the Nominalist-Realist controversy which absorbed the scholars of his day, that "more time has been consumed [by it] than the Gesars gave to the conquest and dominion of the globe, more money wasted than Crcesus counted in all his wealth." We are told in the Scriptures that we should not put new wine into old wine skins, lest the wine skins burst and the wine be spilled, but there is another and even a better reason -- the old wine 1 For an extended discussion of this subject, see Thorndike, Educational Psychology, Vol. II (Teachers College, New York), and Heck, Mental Discipline (John Lane Company, New York). [59] skins are not sanitary. They contain the elements of decay. The new wine that goes into them will be poisoned, and we who drink of it will die. Nevertheless, this pouring of new wine into old bottles is one of the chief activities of education. This is due, it would seem, to the fact that those who so zealously pour their life work in the service of education into the old and time-infected wine skins of formal discipline have no other bottles into which to pour it. Strangely enough, even that hardy company of critics who a few years ago set about liberating the spirit of youth from the contamination of this ...