Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/390

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The strength of the agriculturists' argument for the inauguration of courses in the schools has usually pertained to the immense economic significance. But the successful teaching of agriculture in the school along with the traditional courses depends, like all the rest, upon its being regarded and developed as a humanistic subject as well. It will have to "make good" pedagogically if it is to have a permanent place.[1] But it is also likely that pedagogy will have to recognize some new educational values before the subject can be considered in good standing by schoolmen. When educational ideals include the highest ideals of social efficiency the economic will, of course, be included. But until there is a recognition of something more than economic ideals there may be danger of the industrial reform getting in the way of educational progress, to the ultimate detriment of both.

A usable pedagogy is necessary to the solution of this problem. If pedagogy does not afford the principles and terms with which to treat the subject it is a sign that we need a new pedagogy.[2] Those who seek unity in education should insist that the "science of education" proceed to attack the problem with such means as it possesses. The result may be worth as much to education as to agriculture.

Without guiding educational principles the common mistake regarding this subject is to suppose that agricultural materials have inherent qualities which determine how they should be marshaled in the course. The result is the confusing variety of mechanically graded topics which secondary courses in agriculture present. As a matter of fact any purely agricultural theme will have phases which might be appropriate for any grade. The thesis here maintained is that the child's mind and body, rather than the materials, should be the controlling factors that determine all courses of study and that in the high school these must first, in this case, determine the organization of the sciences. For the

  1. "In the study of the concrete problems of education, we need a guiding principle; we need a formula that will cover every case that is presented; we need to know what education means in its simplest terms. Having such a principle we shall have a basis for interpretation—a criterion, perhaps, for approval or condemnation. Lacking such a principle, our results will be the merest empiricism, valuable it may be as separate facts, but totally inadequate to the needs of constructive effort."—Bagley, "The Educative Process," p. 3.

    "Experience in teaching, covering several years in graded-school work, in an academy, and in a normal school, leads to the conviction that no subject requires more sound knowledge of the principles of pedagogy than does the subject of agriculture."—Abbey, "Normal School Instruction in Agriculture," p. 9.

  2. "New and fundamental concepts regarding educational principles are now needed which square with centralized and systematized industry."—Carlton, "Education and Industrial Evolution," p. 13.

    "If pedagogy or education is to be permanently ranked among the sciences, it must find data in addition to that furnished by cultural imperatives and psychological investigations."—Carlton, "Education and Industrial Evolution," p. 18.