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Secondary Education for Youth in Modern America

By Harl R. Douglass | Go to book overview

I
INTRODUCTION--
BASIC THEORY AND DEFINITIONS

THE most significant fact concerning human beings is that each individual, from birth to death, is subject to never ceasing change--physical and chemical, spiritual and mental. His bones and arteries change, his skin changes, all his organs undergo transformation. Mentally, his ideas and concepts alter and the levels of his specific abilities rise and fall.

Of great significance in this regard, therefore, is the fact that within limits the direction and nature of such change, particularly on the intellectual and spiritual side, may be controlled. Because human beings are peculiarly susceptible to environment, we have schools, churches, advertising, salesmen and other agencies, all for the purpose of controlling mental experience and influencing feeling and behavior.

It is the fact that human conduct can be so largely predetermined that gives meaning to education and stresses its potentialities. The school is one of the agencies developed for the purpose of controlling human behavior. Its modus operandi consists entirely in the selection or influencing of the experiences of those who attend it. Its aim is to produce in them habits, skills, knowledge, concepts and ideals deemed to be desirable. As these types of products arise from the experience of the individual, formal education then is the provision of special experiences for special purposes. This distinguishes it from informal education which is the influence upon future behavior of experience

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