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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/396

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the future will be sociological; that the supremacy which has been accorded to the physical sciences will be transferred to sociological studies"[1] The tendency is certainly in this direction. It is seen in the methods employed and in the character of the work done in the kindergarten, in the comparatively fruitless efforts to extract moral lessons from subjects already taught, in the use now being made of the story and myth in literature, in the making of text-books with a view to moral impression, in the provision made for manual training, and in the preference shown by the Committee of Fifteen for "an objective and practical basis of selection of topics for the course of study, rather than the subjective basis so long favored by educational writers."[2] All this is in response to a demand that our schools must do something more than to cultivate brain power. They must also guide it. All possible means must be utilized in meeting this demand; but, in our judgment, it can be more fully met through sociological studies than through all the means and methods now employed. This line of study can, without doubt, be made the vehicle for effective moral impression.

Apart from the ethical character of this new science, which renders it superior to all other subjects for ethical purposes, it possesses two very important advantages which disarm two classes of objectors to ethical instruction. One class is composed of those who say that we can not teach ethics, because that means religious instruction. This objection falls to the ground through the separation of ethics and religion, which this new science assists in establishing. Since this is so, and since the ethical codes of all parties interested in the schools are substantially the same, and since there is no hope that the state will ever provide for religious instruction, may we not hope that on this ethical ground which sociological studies furnish, a compromise may be effected through which something may be accomplished in the schools of vastly greater importance to humanity than any degree of manual training, or even of purely intellectual development? Those who are opposed to religious instruction would not be losing their case, since ethics is not religion. All who desire religious instruction would, from their point of view, be gaining their object in part, since they include ethics in religion. To no party would this be a sacrifice of principle.

The second class of objectors declare that direct moral instruction would be abortive; that all moral impression must be made indirectly. This is an assumption to which the facts of experience are opposed. However, without stopping to argue


  1. Prof. Fulcomer, Lecturer in Chicago University.
  2. Report of Committee of Fifteen.