Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/391

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
387
AGRICULTURE IN THE HIGH SCHOOL

only features of agriculture that have pedagogic cohesion are the sciences involved.

Presented as they have been without any experience in their utilization having been afforded, high school sciences have not kept pace with educational needs. The fault seems to be that the student has been held too rigidly to the accuracy of an accumulated knowledge with too little experience with the method of its acquisition.[1] Pure science can be but imperfectly appreciated by the adolescent who still retains his dominant childish interest in the use, rather than the organization and structure, of things.[2] And if science could be taught as pure science its destructive tendency, striking as it does at the root of authority, is of questionable propriety where it does not at the same time furnish a philosophy of life. It is especially necessary under a rational government, such as ours, that it be made humanistic.[3] And humanistic science is applied science.

The purposes of high school agriculture, therefore, await the reform of the high school sciences; and a reform in the direction of applied science is evident to many science teachers who have no special interest

  1. "Science teaching has suffered because science has been so frequently presented just as so much ready-made knowledge, so much subject-matter of fact and law, rather than the effective method of inquiry into any subject-matter. . . .

    "Only by taking a hand in the making of knowledge, by transferring guess and opinion into belief authorized by inquiry, does one ever get a knowledge of the method of knowing. Because participation in the making of knowledge has been scant, because reliance upon the efficacy of acquaintance with certain kinds of facts has been current, science has not accomplished in education what was predicted for it."—Dewey, "Science as Subject-matter and as Method," A. A. A. S., 1909.

  2. "What the pupil is unable to use at any time can not be taught him most economically and efficiently at that time."—O 'Shea, "Dynamic Factors in Education," p. 41.

    "Then (in adolescence). . . come the need of utilities, applications to machinery, hygiene, commerce, processes of manufacture, the bread-winning worth of nature knowledge, how its forces are harnessed to serve man and to produce values. Contrary to common educational theory and practise, the practical, technological side of science should precede its purer forms."—Hall, "Adolescence," Vol. II., p. 153.

  3. "An interpretation of humanism with science, and of science with humanism, is the condition of the highest culture."—Symonds, "Culture."

    "As our schools grow more national they should also grow more humanistic. The older humanism was devotion to. . . an abstract ideal. The newer humanism of the schools can not well dispense with the best that the older humanism had to offer. But it will cease to be abstract. . . . The best that the school can do to guard them (youth) against self-centered commercialism, is to awaken their enthusiasm for some ideal good, which has power of appeal to the imagination. . . . We may look to see. . . a new humanism, leaning more and more on science, mindful of the past, patriotic in the present, and looking hopefully forward to the larger human interests."—Brown, "The Making of Our Middle Schools," p. 463.