Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/394

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means either the perpetuation of a form of science instruction that has proved a failure in the high school or it means a reformed science, such as many teachers are now advocating, that introduces industrial applications. If the latter kind is contemplated it should be unnecessary to provide for it again in the agricultural course, for to admit that it can not be so utilized is to take all of the meaning out of the reform. If the former kind is contemplated, such students as can not appreciate "pure science" however elementary, may not be expected, after organizing a science in its more perfect form, to profit by any attempt later to open the subject and reorganize it in a less perfect form for agricultural or other utilitarian purposes, as an addendum, loosely attached and unessential, which must deal with drosser materials. The period for such organization is past for the student who can appreciate the science in its more perfect form, while those who might have profited by the compromised science will have been long since eliminated. Thus would both subjects suffer from the divorcement and postponement of agricultural instruction. The conclusion is that agriculture is not supplementary, but complementary, to the fundamental sciences in the high school.

In the days of pre-evolutionary thought, when learning was all a matter of authority, it was quite natural to think of form as dictating function, and formal knowledge monopolized the schools. The acceptance of the doctrine of evolution was a recognition of the fact that function dictates form.[1] According to the present conception the best teacher is that one who does not have the two very far separated in time.[2] In order that the high school science be properly taught it is necessary that the teacher have a ready knowledge of its function and that it be carried to its application while the subject is first being presented and is yet in the formative stage in the student's mind.[3]

The technique and terminology of pure science are the only adequate technique and terminology of applied science. The only difficulties which the student of agriculture meets are scientific difficulties.[4] It would be strange indeed if such difficulties might be better dealt

  1. "As structure follows function, experience in function must have been first in race history."—Baldwin, "Mental Development, Methods and Processes," p. 64.
  2. "As far as possible the study of form and function should go together."—Bailey, "The Nature-study Idea," p. 49.
  3. "The application in some form should always follow the generalization. The pupil should learn from the start that knowledge as it exists in the form of laws, principles, rules or definitions is utterly valueless, unless, directly or indirectly, it can be carried over into the field of practise."—Bagley, "The Educative Process," p. 303.
  4. "Any attempt to 'cut out' the 'impractical' parts invariably results in the inefficient functioning of the remainder. Short courses that aim to give only the essentials, fifth-rate colleges and normal schools that educate you while you wait, are sufficiently damned by their own products."—Bagley, "The Educative Process," p. 233.