Education as a social factor - Journal of Chemical Education (ACS

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much farther along if the Tower of Babel had never been built, and our children had, therefore, been left free to concentrate on the arts of living instead of, as is now too often the case, being forced to spend so much time on foreign languages.

W. R. W.

EDUCATION AS A SOCIAL FACTOR Although one important function of education is t o impart information and develop scholarly habits of thinking in students, character and personality must also be developed in order to preserve a balance between intellectual and social ideals. Success in social relations is essential to success in any line of endeavor. W. W. Charters1 in a recent article writes: "My formula for success, in social relations a t least, is this: Success in handling people equals two parts personality and one part brains. By the terms of this formula, I mean to indicate my opinion that personality is of more importance than information. This does not mean that information is negative in importance, for if the formula read, success equals two parts personality and no brains, the person to whom the formula would then apply would be what, in the language of the business world, is called a bluffer. He makes an excellent impression but is not effective. When, on the other hand, the formula reads, success equals no personality and brains, we have in mind the grind and the bookworm. Either extreme is bad. Over-developed social personality without a basic foundation of information is quite as ineffective as over-developed mental power and under-developed social efficiency. Both information and personality are necessary for successful living." Mr. Charters goes on to say that "If we desire education to be a beneficial social agency, we must develop high ideals in the students. These ideals are developedpartly through books and study. They are partly developed by personal contacts. It is the duty of every institution of learning to see that its students are provided with good books and with a strong faculty. Even-in a large university i t is entirely possible to provide every student with an adviser, selected to develop character and to assist the student in solving his personal problems. Much more remains to be done but the public which sends its children to the universities will be reassured in the knowledge of the fact that the importance of the problem of the development of character is fully appreciated by the administrative officers and by the majority of the instructors on the faculty." On the other hand, social values may be made the criteria of educational values. This source of criteria has not been widely considered. David Snedden2 writing on this subject says: "Education and Personality," Univ. of Chicago Mag., 18, 219-20 (1926). "An Unconsidered Source of Criteria of Educational Values," Teachers' College Record, 27, 587-99 (1926). I


"If courses and curricula for the various types of schools are to be derived scientifically rather than intuitively or empirically, they must rest upon validated obiectives, that is, defined and tested educational values. But the value or 'worthwhileness' of any particular type or degree of education is necessarily based on social ualues-either explicitly determined, or, because of custom, implicitly assumed. It is obvious, therefore, tbat criteria or standards by which educational objectives are to be validated must be, in even more basic ways, criteria or standards of social values. "Social values-'things of worth' to small or large societies, and to their individual members-are of a thousand kinds. . . . .Many kinds of 'truest social values'-and especially the more deferred, intangible, and socially diffused-are perceived only by sagacious spirits and scientific minds. "The possibilities of offering education seem, then, almost endlessly varied in k i d and, within each department, degree of extent or excellency of attainment. Extensively proved or probable variabilities also prevail among those for whom the several types of education are designed-as respects educabilities, interests, and potentialities for putting their educational achievements to service. Perhaps, in the complexities of the modem world, no less variety exists as to the social needs to be served by education. "Under these conditions it seems futile to argue 'the aim' of education. Hundreds, if not thousands, of valuable ends are to be achieved through those processes of controlled learning that we designate as education. At any given stage in the total scheme of school education for any given case-aggregate i t may be possible to select one group of objectives tbat should be given primary consideration; but the attempt to do this over any extensive area seems as purposeless as to seek to discover which 'is more important, the brain or the stomach, the plow or the sword.' " The following paragraph concludes his article: "A realization of genuinely democratic aspirations for democratic education must be achieved through the application of 'making the most of each individual,' and not through trying to build on false assumptions as to inherent equalities (identities) of individuals, in native powers or potential areas of optimum usefulness." W. R. W.

I do think that the study of natural science is so glorious a school for the mind that, with the laws impressed on all created things by the Creator, and the wonderful unity and stability of matter and the forces of matter, there cannot be a better school for the education of the mind.-F-DAY