Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/397

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AGRICULTURE IN THE HIGH SCHOOL

purpose in our mixed schools is not only the inability of foreseeing and planning for individual needs, but also in the inadequacy of funds and teachers to satisfy such needs. On the assumption that a high school course and no more is to be made available to every youth of the land, such needs, except for delinquents and defectives, may best be provided in the latter part of the high school course.

This would mean the utilization of agriculture so far as applicable in the teaching of all subjects and all kinds of students, with a gradual increase of the purely vocational phases for such students as have elected agriculture as a vocation. Thus would the correlated sciences be better treated for their own purposes without greatly disturbing the present system of accrediting schools and subjects, leaving the accrediting of the strictly vocational subjects of the same school to be dealt with separately. And it is necessary, if we would secure the right kind of science teaching as well as vocational courses with thorough foundations, to have them taught in the same school, else may the one be divorced from its source of strength and the other become no more than elementary and baldly utilitarian.

The "preparatory" value of the vocational side of the agricultural course may be considered apart from the reform of the sciences. It is this consideration that makes necessary the admission of educational values, until recently not recognized as such by schoolmen. First might be mentioned the significance to the young learner of testing by a muscular manipulation the objects of his environment. Such objects are of value as educational materials to the degree to which they call for necessary muscular adjustments similar to those which the race from the earliest times has experienced. Every sensation or thought, the psychologists affirm, naturally stimulates a motor adjustment which reinforces the original sensory or central impulse which originated the motion. And this "back stroke" from the muscle furnishing the unifying "kinesthetic factor" is a thing to be encouraged and not repressed, as has too often been done in school work.[1] In the earliest


    ward in the most deliberate and amplest fashion to the study of the products of the intellectual life, regardless of the basis of his own economic support."—Butler, "Training for Vocation and for Avocation," Educational Review, December, 1908, pp. 472-474.

  1. "We have lately become convinced that accurate work with carpenter's tools, or lathe, or hammer and anvil, or violin, or piano, or pencil, or crayon, or camel's hair brush, trains the same nerves and ganglia with which we do what is ordinarily called thinking."—Eliot, "Education for Efficiency," p. 38.

    "Every mental state is a fusion of sensory and motor elements, and any influence that strengthens the one tends to strengthen the other also."—Baldwin, "Mental Development; Methods and Processes," p. 440. "No serious thought is possible without some voluntary effort, and no emotion ever arises without inducing some form of action."—Judd, "Psychology," p. 66.