| ARTICLE I--What Education Is
I believe that all education proceeds by the
participation of the individual in the social consciousness of
the race. This process begins unconsciously almost at birth, and
is continually shaping the individual's powers, saturating his
consciousness, forming his habits, training his ideas, and arousing
his feelings and emotions. Through this unconscious education
the individual gradually comes to share in the intellectual and
moral resources which humanity has succeeded in getting together.
He becomes an inheritor of the funded capital of civilization.
The most formal and technical education in the world cannot safely
depart from this general process. It can only organize it or differentiate
it in some particular direction.
I believe that the only true education comes
through the stimulation of the child's powers by the demands of
the social situations in which he finds himself. Through these
demands he is stimulated to act as a member of a unity, to emerge
from his original narrowness of action and feeling, and to conceive
of himself from the standpoint of the welfare of the group to
which he belongs. Through the responses which others make to his
own activities he comes to know what these mean in social terms.
The value which they have is reflected back into them. For instance,
through the response which is made to the child's instinctive
babblings the child comes to know what those babblings mean; they
are transformed into articulate language and thus the child is
introduced into the consolidated wealth of ideas and emotions
which are now summed up in language.
I believe that this educational process has
two sides-one psychological and one sociological; and that neither
can be subordinated to the other or neglected without evil results
following. Of these two sides, the psychological is the basis.
The child's own instincts and powers furnish the material and
give the starting point for all education. Save as the efforts
of the educator connect with some activity which the child is
carrying on of his own initiative independent of the educator,
education becomes reduced to a pressure from without. It may,
indeed, give certain external results, but cannot truly be called
educative. Without insight into the psychological structure and
activities of the individual, the educative process will, therefore,
be haphazard and arbitrary. If it chances to coincide with the
child's activity it will get a leverage; if it does not, it will
result in friction, or disintegration, or arrest of the child
I believe that knowledge of social conditions,
of the present state of civilization, is necessary in order properly
to interpret the child's powers. The child has his own instincts
and tendencies, but we do not know what these mean until we can
translate them into their social equivalents. We must be able
to carry them back into a social past and see them as the inheritance
of previous race activities. We must also be able to project them
into the future to see what their outcome and end will be. In
the illustration just used, it is the ability to see in the child's
babblings the promise and potency of a future social intercourse
and conversation which enables one to deal in the proper way with
I believe that the psychological and social
sides are organically related and that education cannot be regarded
as a compromise between the two, or a superimposition of one upon
the other. We are told that the psychological definition of education
is barren and formal--that it gives us only the idea of a development
of all the mental powers without giving us any idea of the use
to which these powers are put. On the other hand, it is urged
that the social definition of education, as getting adjusted to
civilization, makes of it a forced and external process, and results
in subordinating the freedom of the individual to a preconceived
social and political status.
I believe that each of these objections is
true when urged against one side isolated from the other. In order
to know what a power really is we must know what its end, use,
or function is; and this we cannot know save as we conceive of
the individual as active in social relationships. But, on the
other hand, the only possible adjustment which we can give to
the child under existing conditions, is that which arises through
putting him in complete possession of all his powers. With the
advent of democracy and modern industrial conditions, it is impossible
to foretell definitely just what civilization will be twenty years
from now. Hence it is impossible to prepare the child for any
precise set of conditions. To prepare him for the future life
means to give him command of himself; it means so to train him
that he will have the full and ready use of all his capacities;
that his eye and ear and hand may be tools ready to command, that
his judgment may be capable of grasping the conditions under which
it has to work, and the executive forces be trained to act economically
and efficiently. It is impossible to reach this sort of adjustment
save as constant regard is had to the individual's own powers,
tastes, and interests-say, that is, as education is continually
converted into psychological terms.
In sum, I believe that the individual who is
to be educated is a social individual and that society is an organic
union of individuals. If we eliminate the social factor from the
child we are left only with an abstraction; if we eliminate the
individual factor from society, we are left only with an inert
and lifeless mass. Education, therefore, must begin with a psychological
insight into the child's capacities, interests, and habits. It
must be controlled at every point by reference to these same considerations.
These powers, interests, and habits must be continually interpreted--we
must know what they mean. They must be translated into terms of
their social equivalents--into terms of what they are capable
of in the way of social service.
ARTICLE II--What the School Is
I believe that the school is primarily a social
institution. Education being a social process, the school is simply
that form of community life in which all those agencies are concentrated
that will be most effective in bringing the child to share in
the inherited resources of the race, and to use his own powers
for social ends.
I believe that education, therefore, is a process
of living and not a preparation for future living.
I believe that the school must represent present
life-life as real and vital to the child as that which he carries
on in the home, in the neighborhood, or on the playground.
I believe that education which does not occur
through forms of life, or that are worth living for their own
sake, is always a poor substitute for the genuine reality and
tends to cramp and to deaden.
I believe that the school, as an institution,
should simplify existing social life; should reduce it, as it
were, to an embryonic form. Existing life is so complex that the
child cannot be brought into contact with it without either confusion
or distraction; he is either overwhelmed by the multiplicity of
activities which are going on, so that he loses his own power
of orderly reaction, or he is so stimulated by these various activities
that his powers are prematurely called into play and he becomes
either unduly specialized or else disintegrated.
I believe that as such simplified social life,
the school life should grow gradually out of the home life; that
it should take up and continue the activities with which the child
is already familiar in the home.
I believe that it should exhibit these activities
to the child, and reproduce them in such ways that the child will
gradually learn the meaning of them, and be capable of playing
his own part in relation to them.
I believe that this is a psychological necessity,
because it is the only way of securing continuity in the child's
growth, the only way of giving a back-ground of past experience
to the new ideas given in school.
I believe that it is also a social necessity
because the home is the form of social life in which the child
has been nurtured and in connection with which he has had his
moral training. It is the business of the school to deepen and
extend his sense of the values bound up in his home life.
I believe that much of present education fails
because it neglects this fundamental principle of the school as
a form of community life. It conceives the school as a place where
certain information is to be given, where certain lessons are
to be ]earned, or where certain habits are to be formed. The value
of these is conceived as lying largely in the remote future; the
child must do these things for the sake of something else he is
to do; they are mere preparation. As a result they do not become
a part of the life experience of the child and so are not truly
I believe that the moral education centers
upon this conception of the school as a mode of social life, that
the best and deepest moral training is precisely that which one
gets through having to enter into proper relations with others
in a unity of work and thought. The present educational systems,
so far as they destroy or neglect this unity, render it difficult
or impossible to get any genuine, regular moral training.
I believe that the child should be stimulated
and controlled in his work through the life of the community.
I believe that under existing conditions far
too much of the stimulus and control proceeds from the teacher,
because of neglect of the idea of the school as a form of social
I believe that the teacher's place and work
in the school is to be interpreted from this same basis. The teacher
is not in the school to impose certain ideas or to form certain
habits in the child, but is there as a member of the community
to select the influences which shall affect the child and to assist
him in properly responding to these influences.
I believe that the discipline of the school
should proceed from the life of the school as a whole and not
directly from the teacher.
I believe that the teacher's business is simply
to determine on the basis of larger experience and riper wisdom,
how the discipline of life shall come to the child.
I believe that all questions of the grading
of the child and his promotion should be determined by reference
to the same standard. Examinations are of use only so far as they
test the child's fitness for social life and reveal the place
in which he can be of the most service and where he can receive
the most help.
ARTICLE III--The Subject-Matter of Education
I believe that the social life of the child
is the basis of concentration, or correlation, in all his training
or growth. The social life gives the unconscious unity and the
background of all his efforts and of all his attainments.
I believe that the subject-matter of the school
curriculum should mark a gradual differentiation out of the primitive
unconscious unity of social life.
I believe that we violate the child's nature
and render difficult the best ethical results, by introducing
the child too abruptly to a number of special studies, of reading,
writing, geography, etc., out of relation to this social life.
I believe, therefore, that the true center
of correlation on the school subjects is not science, nor literature,
nor history, nor geography, but the child's own social activities.
I believe that education cannot be unified
in the study of science, or so called nature study, because apart
from human activity, nature itself is not a unity; nature in itself
is a number of diverse objects in space and time, and to attempt
to make it the center of work by itself, is to introduce a principle
of radiation rather than one of concentration.
I believe that literature is the reflex expression
and interpretation of social experience; that hence it must follow
upon and not precede such experience. It, therefore, cannot be
made the basis, although it may be made the summary of unification.
I believe once more that history is of educative
value in so far as it presents phases of social life and growth.
It must be controlled by reference to social life. When taken
simply as history it is thrown into the distant past and becomes
dead and inert. Taken as the record of man's social life and progress
it becomes full of meaning. I believe, however, that it
cannot be so taken excepting as the child is also introduced directly
into social life.
I believe accordingly that the primary basis
of education is in the child's powers at work along the same general
constructive lines as those which have brought civilization into
I believe that the only way to make the child
conscious of his social heritage is to enable him to perform those
fundamental types of activity which make civilization what it
I believe, therefore, in the so-called expressive
or constructive activities as the center of correlation.
I believe that this gives the standard for
the place of cooking, sewing, manual training, etc., in the school.
I believe that they are not special studies
which are to be introduced over and above a lot of others in the
way of relaxation or relief, or as additional accomplishments.
I believe rather that they represent, as types, fundamental
forms of social activity; and that it is possible and desirable
that the child's introduction into the more formal subjects of
the curriculum be through the medium of these activities.
I believe that the study of science is educational
in so far as it brings out the materials and processes which make
social life what it is.
I believe that one of the greatest difficulties
in the present teaching of science is that the material is presented
in purely objective form, or is treated as a new peculiar kind
of experience which the child can add to that which he has already
had. In reality, science is of value because it gives the ability
to interpret and control the experience already had. It should
be introduced, not as so much new subject-matter, but as showing
the factors already involved in previous experience and as furnishing
tools by which that experience can be more easily and effectively
I believe that at present we lose much of the
value of literature and language studies because of our elimination
of the social element. Language is almost always treated in the
books of pedagogy simply as the expression of thought. It is true
that language is a logical instrument, but it is fundamentally
and primarily a social instrument. Language is the device for
communication; it is the tool through which one individual comes
to share the ideas and feelings of others. When treated simply
as a way of getting individual information, or as a means of showing
off what one has learned, it loses its social motive and end.
I believe that there is, therefore, no succession
of studies in the ideal school curriculum. If education is life,
all life has, from the outset, a scientific aspect, an aspect
of art and culture, and an aspect of communication. It cannot,
therefore, be true that the proper studies for one grade are mere
reading and writing, and that at a later grade, reading, or literature,
or science, may be introduced. The progress is not in the succession
of studies but in the development of new attitudes towards, and
new interests in, experience.
I believe finally, that education must be conceived
as a continuing reconstruction of experience; that the process
and the goal of education are one and the same thing.
I believe that to set up any end outside of
education, as furnishing its goal and standard, is to deprive
the educational process of much of its meaning and tends to make
us rely upon false and external stimuli in dealing with the child.
ARTICLE IV--The Nature of Method
I believe that the question of method is ultimately
reducible to the question of the order of development of the child's
powers and interests. The law for presenting and treating material
is the law implicit within the child's own nature. Because this
is so I believe the following statements are of supreme
importance as determining the spirit in which education is carried
1. I believe that the active
side precedes the passive in the development of the child nature;
that expression comes before conscious impression; that the muscular
development precedes the sensory; that movements come before conscious
sensations; I believe that consciousness is essentially
motor or impulsive; that conscious states tend to project themselves
I believe that the neglect of this principle
is the cause of a large part of the waste of time and strength
in school work. The child is thrown into a passive, receptive,
or absorbing attitude. The conditions are such that he is not
permitted to follow the law of his nature; the result is friction
I believe that ideas (intellectual and rational
processes) also result from action and devolve for the sake of
the better control of action. What we term reason is primarily
the law of orderly or effective action. To attempt to develop
the reasoning powers, the powers of judgment, without reference
to the selection and arrangement of means in action, is the fundamental
fallacy in our present methods of dealing with this matter. As
a result we present the child with arbitrary symbols. Symbols
are a necessity in mental development, but they have their place
as tools for economizing effort; presented by themselves they
are a mass of meaningless and arbitrary ideas imposed from without.
2. I believe that the image
is the great instrument of instruction. What a child gets out
of any subject presented to him is simply the images which he
himself forms with regard to it.
I believe that if nine tenths of the energy
at present directed towards making the child learn certain things,
were spent in seeing to it that the child was forming proper images,
the work of instruction would be indefinitely facilitated.
I believe that much of the time and attention
now given to the preparation and presentation of lessons might
be more wisely and profitably expended in training the child's
power of imagery and in seeing to it that he was continually forming
definite, vivid, and growing images of the various subjects with
which he comes in contact in his experience.
3. I believe that interests
are the signs and symptoms of growing power. I believe
that they represent dawning capacities. Accordingly the constant
and careful observation of interests is of the utmost importance
for the educator.
I believe that these interests are to be observed
as showing the state of development which the child has reached.
I believe that they prophesy the stage upon
which he is about to enter.
I believe that only through the continual and
sympathetic observation of childhood's interests can the adult
enter into the child's life and see what it is ready for, and
upon what material it could work most readily and fruitfully.
I believe that these interests are neither
to be humored nor repressed. To repress interest is to substitute
the adult for the child, and so to weaken intellectual curiosity
and alertness, to suppress initiative, and to deaden interest.
To humor the interests is to substitute the transient for the
permanent. The interest is always the sign of some power below;
the important thing is to discover this power. To humor the interest
is to fail to penetrate below the surface and its sure result
is to substitute caprice and whim for genuine interest.
4. I believe that the emotions
are the reflex of actions.
I believe that to endeavor to stimulate or
arouse the emotions apart from their corresponding activities,
is to introduce an unhealthy and morbid state of mind.
I believe that if we can only secure right
habits of action and thought, with reference to the good, the
true, and the beautiful, the emotions will for the most part take
care of themselves.
I believe that next to deadness and dullness,
formalism and routine, our education is threatened with no greater
evil than sentimentalism.
I believe that this sentimentalism is the necessary
result of the attempt to divorce feeling from action.
ARTICLE V-The School and Social Progress
I believe that education is the fundamental
method of social progress and reform.
I believe that all reforms which rest simply
upon the enactment of law, or the threatening of certain penalties,
or upon changes in mechanical or outward arrangements, are transitory
I believe that education is a regulation of
the process of coming to share in the social consciousness; and
that the adjustment of individual activity on the basis of this
social consciousness is the only sure method of social reconstruction.
I believe that this conception has due regard
for both the individualistic and socialistic ideals. It is duly
individual because it recognizes the formation of a certain character
as the only genuine basis of right living. It is socialistic because
it recognizes that this right character is not to be formed by
merely individual precept, example, or exhortation, but rather
by the influence of a certain form of institutional or community
life upon the individual, and that the social organism through
the school, as its organ, may determine ethical results.
I believe that in the ideal school we have
the reconciliation of the individualistic and the institutional
I believe that the community's duty to education
is, therefore, its paramount moral duty. By law and punishment,
by social agitation and discussion, society can regulate and form
itself in a more or less haphazard and chance way. But through
education society can formulate its own purposes, can organize
its own means and resources, and thus shape itself with definiteness
and economy in the direction in which it wishes to move.
I believe that when society once recognizes
the possibilities in this direction, and the obligations which
these possibilities impose, it is impossible to conceive of the
resources of time, attention, and money which will be put at the
disposal of the educator.
I believe that it is the business of every
one interested in education to insist upon the school as the primary
and most effective interest of social progress and reform in order
that society may be awakened to realize what the school stands
for, and aroused to the necessity of endowing the educator with
sufficient equipment properly to perform his task.
I believe that education thus conceived marks
the most perfect and intimate union of science and art conceivable
in human experience.
I believe that the art of thus giving shape
to human powers and adapting them to social service, is the supreme
art; one calling into its service the best of artists; that no
insight, sympathy, tact, executive power, is too great for such
I believe that with the growth of psychological
service, giving added insight into individual structure and laws
of growth; and with growth of social science, adding to our knowledge
of the right organization of individuals, all scientific resources
can be utilized for the purposes of education.
I believe that when science and art thus join
hands the most commanding motive for human action will be reached;
the most genuine springs of human conduct aroused and the best
service that human nature is capable of guaranteed.
I believe, finally, that the teacher is engaged,
not simply in the training of individuals, but in the formation
of the proper social life.
I believe that every teacher should realize
the dignity of his calling; that he is a social servant set apart
for the maintenance of proper social order and the securing of
the right social growth.
I believe that in this way the teacher always
is the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true
kingdom of God.