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OF SCHOOL CHILDREN
LECTURER ON EDUCATION IN THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON
NEW YORK, BOMBAY, AND CALCUTTA
All rights reserved
My object in writing this book has been to present a comprehensive account of Child Nature for the use of students in Training Colleges for Teachers. The experience I have gained during the past seven years with students in England and America is embodied in this work.
The book is intended to serve as a text-book, i.e. it aims at giving, in as brief a space as possible, a large number of facts which may be utilised in class discussion. Some parts of the work may appear too difficult for the young student, but the method of treatment seems justified by the great advance which scientific investigation has made in this branch of Education. Some of the topics discussed are of a controversial nature, and where this is the case, I have endeavoured to present both sides of the question in a frank and dispassionate manner.
It is an axiom of Science that if two hypotheses explain certain facts or phenomena equally well, the simpler should be chosen. Believing that the mechanistic conception offers the simplest explanation of mind, I have assumed throughout this work (though not without considerable misgivings in places) that all mental action has a physical basis. This has led me to give a more detailed treatment of the structure and functions of the nervous system than is usual in books of this nature. The technical terms, which are of necessity introduced, will probably be found confusing at first, but experience shows that the initial bewilderment soon gives way to clearer knowledge.
Mind tends to express itself in action ; a study of the mind in action (Dynamic or Functional Psychology) occupies the major part of these pages ; Descriptive Psychology is relegated to a very secondary position.
In the development of child nature, change and growth are the outstanding features. These aspects I have endeavoured to emphasise throughout the whole book.