Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 40.djvu/535

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
517
AN EXPERIMENT IN EDUCATION.

The whole subject is still a dark and perplexing one, and we must refrain from dogmatizing. It may, however, be contended that the evidence on the whole supports the view that the generalizing process is up to a certain and not very high point independent of language. That is to say, an animal unassisted by any system of general signs may make a start along the path of comparing its observations, resolving them into their constituents, and separating out some of these as common qualities. Whether in these nascent operations of thought there is some substitute for our mechanism of signs, we do not know and perhaps never shall know. However this be, they remain nascent processes never rising above a certain level. The addition of some kind of sign which can be used as a mark of common features or qualities seems to be indispensable to any high degree of generalization, and to any elaborate process of reasoning. It is the want of such signs, and not the lack of the "power of abstraction," that keeps certain animals, for example the dog, from being rational animals in as complete a sense as a large number of our own species.—Nineteenth Century.

 

AN EXPERIMENT IN EDUCATION.
By MARY ALLING ABER.
SECOND PAPER.

ENGLEWOOD, Ill, is now a portion of the city of Chicago; but formerly it was a suburban town with an independent school system. In October, 1886, Miss Frances MacChesney, a primary teacher in the Lewis School, obtained permission from her principal. Miss Katherine Starr Kellogg, and her superintendent, Mr. Orville T. Bright, to try some work on the lines wrought out in the experiment made at Boston.[1] Her request was granted, on condition that she would complete the grade work in the required time.

At first nothing was attempted beyond the giving of simple science lessons as bases for reading lessons. In these the children were furnished with specimens, and led through their own observations to the acquisition of facts and ideas, which the children expressed; these expressions put upon the blackboards constituted the reading matter, and were written in script or print on slips of paper for further use. At this time Miss MacChesney herself thought of the work mainly as a more interesting way of teaching reading; and, although the basal lessons were usually drawn from Nature, little attention was paid to the quality and value of the


  1. See this Monthly for January.